Autistic Edmonton man warming hearts with launch of delivery business
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A new city delivery service run by a young autistic man who always has a smile on his face has captured the hearts of Edmontonians.
Deborah Barrett and Mike Hamm created Anthony At Your Service for Barrett’s son Anthony — a 24-year-old autistic man with the hopes that he would become a well-known member of the community.
“He is a loving, gentle, wonderful human being. You have to be around him to feel that energy, but by giving him a job that gets him around (town), more and more people will care about Anthony and Anthony will have people in his life,” said Barrett.
Barrett's hopes for her son are already coming to fruition. A video created by Anthony’s assistant Mike Hamm has been making its rounds on Twitter, Reddit and blogs since it launched Wednesday, and has already been seen over 1,000 times.
“I’m pretty overwhelmed," said Hamm. "It’s really exciting for me, and kind of emotional too. I work with Anthony all the time. I get to be with this miracle of a guy who always puts a smile on my face, so it’s exciting to see people being warmed by him too, even just through a video."
The service was created for Anthony to help him fill his days and get involved with the community. There are very few educational or occupational opportunities for developmentally disabled adults after leaving high school, Barrett said, so often times social interaction can drop off.
“Most adults with autism don’t have friends. About 75 per cent of people with autism don’t have any friends at all. This is a way of creating a life for Anthony and giving back to the community at the same time,” she said.
“When you’re an adult, a lot of your social life comes from your job; it provides social opportunities, it provides meaning and it provides purpose. One of the things that’s important for me as a mom is to make sure that Anthony has things that make it worth getting out of bed for.”
Anthony At Your Service is a Monday to Friday service that will delivery anything that can fit in a car and that Anthony can lift. They promise next-day delivery for $10. Possible deliveries include mail, parcels, tailoring, dry-cleaning and other errand running, but Barrett said they would love to hear suggestions from others.