The avalanche of bad news bombarding each of us takes its toll. The steady drumbeat about 1,000 Americans a day dying of Covid-19 and the incessant tsunami of political lies and misinformation are ample reason for anyone to question their sanity.
Then, like the needle in the haystack, we come upon news that lifts our spirits and make us once again realize there are decent people among us, people committed to making this a better world, people trying hard to bridge the differences between us rather than use them as a wedge to advance their own agenda.
One of these is Tom Landis of Texas who got in the ice cream business in 2015 in hopes of providing employment for people with special needs. As you can imagine, it’s been a struggle with more than a few setbacks. But thanks to Tom’s perseverance and the help of many who believe in his mission, the venture is alive and well and hoping to expand.
Here is the article from The Washington Post that details this uplifting story:
The store began operating at a loss in March, when stay-at-home orders decimated sales, and it continued that way through the hot summer. By September, Howdy faced the possibility of closure, so Landis closed the original location and moved to a nearby, cheaper spot.
“When you have someone with special needs, it takes a little bit longer to train them, but when you train them up, they’re fired up, and they put smiles on customers’ faces,” Landis said. “There are days I walk into the restaurant and the employees are in better moods and are happier to be there than me. They’re more proud of Howdy than I am.”
Landis was undeterred. He remains proud of five years in business with zero employee turnover and knows his employees with Down syndrome and autism have a place in the economy, in any industry.
In 2015, soon before Howdy opened, Jones met Landis at a banquet for the football team at Highland Park High School in Dallas, where Jones was a senior at the time. Landis told Jones about possible hiring opportunities, and the next day Jones called Landis to follow up. Jones, now 24, started as a bus boy at one of Landis’s Texadelphia restaurants and said he “started at the bottom and worked up to the top” — he’s now the vice president of Howdy Homemade.