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Man With Autism Opens His Own Coffee Shop After No One Would Hire Him

Caitlyn Clancey

Caitlyn Clancey

Michael Coyne lives with autism, ADHD, and bipolar disorder. As well as being an accomplished Special Olympics athlete, he also enjoys food prep and previously participated in a hospitality program with dreams of one day finding himself in the kitchen of a restaurant.

When he turned 21, Coyne decided it was time to make those dreams a reality and finally join the workforce. There was just one problem: no employers were willing to take a chance on a man with autism.

"I applied to multiple places," he told WPRI-TV. "None of them would hire me."

Although constant rejection would be enough to make anyone give up, Coyne said he used it as motivation.

YouTube | WPRI

He decided that if no one was going to hire him, then he was just going to have to hire himself.

And so, after taking business classes at the Rhode Island Developmental Disability Center and receiving some help from his parents, he was finally able to open up his very own coffee shop: Red, White & Brew.

The cafe had its grand opening this month, and its proud owner couldn't be happier with how everything is going.

Facebook | Red White & Brew Coffeehouse

Coyne said his goal is to hire employees with and without special needs to help him run his beloved coffee shop.

"We just want to integrate," he explained.

His mom, Sheila, said she hopes her son's business model can help other people like Coyne struggling to find a job.

YouTube | WPRI

"As parents, we look at our kids and see the value," she said. "We see what they are capable of, instead of the system that's consistently labeling them and putting barriers."

The shop's official Facebook page says they want to encourage community engagement, as well as "change the way the world sees those with disabilities."

When you visit Red, White & Brew, you can expect to be treated to some tasty snacks and delicious beverages.

Facebook | Red White & Brew Coffeehouse

"We are a specialty coffeehouse, selling locally roasted coffee beans," the Facebook page explains. "We also sell muffins, pastries, and calzones."

The cafe also shares its venue with a "unique gift shop" called The Budding Violet, which features homemade items crafted by some of Coyne's peers.

Sheila said her son's business offers unique learning opportunities for everyone "on both sides."

Facebook | Red White & Brew Coffeehouse

"We teach people, 'Yeah, he has a disability, but look what he's doing,'" she explained. "And he's out in the community getting his social skills."

"He's done amazing things," she continued. "And he's just a really good human being. You feel that when you come in."

h/t: WPRI-TV, Facebook | Red White & Brew Coffeehouse