Heroes Among Us

Tim Harris Serves Up Food – and Hugs!

06/07/2012 at 11:00 AM EDT

Albuquerque Man With Down Syndrome Runs Diner
Tim Harris
Mark Peterman
Customers rave about the breakfast burritos at Tim's Place, but the menu item that keeps them coming back isn't edible. It's a big-hearted bear hug, delivered by owner Tim Harris, 26.

"People would order a hug," he tells PEOPLE. "I'll go to the table, tell them, "Thank you for stopping by, and have a wonderful day."

That exceptional customer service is a daily reminder of what a determined young man with devoted parents can achieve. When Jeannie and Keith Harris learned Tim had Down syndrome, "it was like the baby we expected had died," Jeannie says, "and was replaced with a burden that would destroy us."

Instead, they vowed to help their second of four sons get the most out of life. Charming and upbeat, Tim attended a mainstream school, was voted homecoming king and competes in the Special Olympics. His parents, entrepreneurs who subsidized the restaurant but hope it will turn a profit by this summer, opened the diner in October, 2010 after Tim studied food services. Today, with a 20-person staff that includes a manager and chef, Harris routinely speaks to groups of people with disabilities. "I can," he says, "make a difference."



Know a hero? Send suggestions to HEROESAMONGUS@PEOPLEMAG.COM. For more inspiring stories, read the latest issue of PEOPLE magazine.
To get a sneak peek of this week's issue click here

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Lupita Nyong'o: Most Beautiful!
  • Lupita Nyong'o: Most Beautiful!
  • Chelsea Clinton is Pregnant!
  • Exclusive Royal Tour Diary

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

blog comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters