If you are ever in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a must-see location is Tim’s Place where the motto is Breakfast, Lunch and Hugs. I recently heard of Tim Harris and his one of a kind restaurant that immediately appealed to this veteran hugger . He is, according to his family, the only person with Down Syndrome to own a restaurant in this country. I watched, with goosebumps and tears, a you tube video that shows this wonderful young man greet customers with a smile and hugs, waiting on tables and giving big time kudos to his kitchen staff, unabashedly telling them that he loves them. Now, how many cooks hear that from their bosses? If that was the case, Gordon Ramsey (host of Kitchen Nightmares) would have one less aggravation to deal with when doing his restaurant interventions. How many business owners gladly arise at the crack of dawn and do a parking lot ‘dance of magic’ each day before opening the doors? I think Tim may be unique in that regard as well.
What Tim shares in the video are these words of wisdom “The hugs are way more important than the food. Food is just food.” and waxes enthusiastically: “I am a lean, mean hugging machine. ” I have the sense though that love is a not-so-secret ingredient in the food as well, nourishing those who partake in body, mind and spirit. Tim’s family members are his most enthusiastic cheerleaders who clearly instilled in this remarkable young man, the belief that a chromosomal anomaly didn’t make for anything less than a remarkable life. Tim became a Special Olympian who states in the video that he has more medals than Michael Phelps. I don’t think he was joking. He is also an accomplished sailor. Would that every parent of a child who is different from what society might deem ‘normal’ see in them the potential that Tim’s mom and dad saw in their son who seems to embrace life with all he’s got. What a difference that person could make in the lives of so many others. Consider this…a customer walks into Tim’s Place, gets greeted at the door with a hug from Tim and then carries that contagious energy out into the world. How amazing would that be?
What inspires me the most about Tim is that he sees past what others might consider limitations. Tim affirms “We are a gift to the world.” Oh yeah!