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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Dunkin' Employee Dances with 26-Year-Old Autistic Customer in Heartwarming Video

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A Dunkin’ Donuts employee has been praised for his friendship and kindness toward a customer with autism in Staten Island, New York.

Bryan Lara, 36, has been a Dunkin’ Donuts employee for five years.

He goes out of his way to meet and remember his customers, learning their drink orders and making them feel welcome.

In January, 26-year-old Donald Simon visited Dunkin’ Donuts with his aid, Angela Jasmine.

Simon is autistic and nonverbal, a combination that often makes friendship difficult.

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When Lara saw the pair inside the store, he stopped at their table to make them feel welcome.

Lara realized that Simon was unable to speak, so he chose another form of communication — dance.

Lara started dancing around the store and enthusiastically started moving to the music, hoping Simon would join in.

Simon loved it, soon moving in his chair with a huge grin on his face, flashing a thumbs-up for the camera.

Jasmine took a video of the pair and sent it to Simon’s mom, Donna Maxon.

Maxon loved the interaction and posted the video online, where it soon went viral.

Maxon has used the opportunity to remind people that kindness goes a long way.

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“Most people would not pay attention to Donald as soon as they realize he is unable to communicate, but Bryan figured out a way to communicate without words and it is very touching to me that he made my son so happy,” Maxon told People magazine.

Maxon said that her son made a friend that day, and it warmed her heart to the core.

“When you’re on the spectrum and nonverbal, the word friend isn’t used that much,” Maxon told Yahoo Lifestyle, “and it touches the heart of a special-needs mom.”

“Bryan has a heart of gold and deserves praises for his ongoing acts of human kindness,” Maxon said.

Lara doesn’t have any special needs training, he simply behaved in a kind, genuine way.

“Bryan has shined a light for so many people,” Maxon said. “It’s human kindness.”

Seeing the smile on Simon’s face was exactly what Lara was hoping for.

“I love my customers so much,” Lara said.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
Page, Arizona
Bachelor of Science in Music Education
Phoenix, Arizona
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Lifestyle & Human Interest