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Lifestyle & Human Interest

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

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Rejection is never fun, especially when you put your heart and soul into something. No one applying for work likes to be told “no thank you,” and the effect that a repeated “no” has on a person can be devastating.

When Michael Coyne — who has autism and is a Special Olympics athlete — applied for jobs, he kept getting passed over.

“After I turned 21 I applied to multiple places,” he told WLNE-TV. “None of them would hire me.”

That wasn’t just tough for Coyne himself, it was tough for his mother Sheila Coyne to see — especially because her other children had managed to find work.

“It’s not easy for parents to watch your kid sit around the kitchen table while everyone else is enjoying life and coworkers, and talking about their day,” she said.

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But instead of taking the defeat sitting down, Michael decided to change things himself. If he couldn’t find a business that would take him on, he’d create that business himself.

Michael started by taking business classes, and then he opened “Red White & Brew Coffeehouse” in North Smithfield, Rhode Island.

The coffeehouse’s Facebook page is full of updates and photos of the cute shop.

“We are a family owned coffee shop serving up more than a cup of coffee,” its “About” page read. “We employ people with developmental disabilities, encourage community engagement, and change the way the world sees those with disabilities.”

“We are a specialty coffeehouse, selling locally roasted coffee beans,” the page continued. “We also sell muffins, pastries, and calzones. We share our home with The Budding Violet, a unique gift shop filled with items from local artists.”

Many of those local artists have disabilities themselves, and the shop provides an outlet for their talents and an opportunity to turn a profit on their wares.

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The shop is more than a nice place to get a hot cup of joe and promote a local business — it has become a “beacon of hope” for parents who worry their children won’t have the same opportunities so many others are afforded.

“It’s just a beacon of hope for people with disabilities,” Michael told WPRI-TV.

“We’ve had parents come in with tears in their eyes with the hope that their young children will eventually be accepted into the community,” Sheila told WLNE-TV.

“We’ve been very busy,” Michael added. “It’s been fun.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking