A viral Facebook clip showing a Dunkin’ Donuts employee and a customer with autism dancing to a Lady Gaga song is delighting thousands of viewers online.
Donald Simon, 26, who is from Staten Island, NY, is autistic and nonverbal at the same time, visited a local Dunkin’ Donuts along with his aid, Angela Jasmine, who accompanies him also to basketball, pottery and piano lessons.
Employee Bryan Lara, came to their table to say hello, “When we’re not too busy, I always make a point to talk to my customers,” he says “I know most people’s names and their drink orders.”
Simon asked Lara his name several times and was copying his movement as Jasmine explained that he had autism, when the Culture Club song “Karma Chameleon” was played at the store, Lara began danging to the song and Simon copied all his moves. Then “Lady Gaga’s ‘Paparazzi’ began playing and spurred Lara to shake his hips to the song, while Simon danced in his chair, the whole dance was filmed by Donald’s aid.
The recording was uploaded by Simon’s mother, Donna Maxon, who posted it on her Facebook writing, “Sometimes the Staff at Dunkin Donuts does a floor show to ensure their Special guests are having fun! Thank you for rolling out the red carpet for Donald…”
Maxon goes on to say that she was touched that although Simon was special needs and non verbal, he made a friend in employee Lara and was able to connect with him even without special-needs training. She says, “Bryan has shined a light for so many people … it’s human kindness.”
Lara says, “I am always dancing, and when I saw Donald smile, it was a great feeling,” he says, “I love my customers so much.”
Lara may not even be aware that this small act of kindness he showed Simon has made such a deep impact on his and his mom’s life. We all need some more Lara’s in this world.