The sun beams through the large glass windows at the Weaverville McDonald’s. A smile is on Rob’s face. He looks forward to this day every week. He is dressed in his work clothes and has his matching cap positioned just right. Rob clears a table and throws the trash away when a customer enters the door.
“Good morning!” Rob cheerfully says . “Good morning!” the customer replies smiling at Rob . “My favorite part of my job is the customers – always the customers,” Rob asserts. “I make them feel happy.”
Rob has worked at this McDonald’s for 15 years. Many in the community recognize him as they come and go from the well-known eatery . Rob is a “golden arches” fan and isn’t shy about sharing his choice for a great restaurant. “I recommend McDonald’s. Yes sir, I do.”
Rob has lived at Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) Developmental Disabilities Ministry (DDM) home in Asheville since last October. Living at the Alverta Bolick Home has helped Rob achieve more independence. DDM provides developmentally disabled individuals opportunities to achieve goals, realize dreams, and enhance their roles in the community.
The transition for Rob to living in the DDM home from living with his parents has been good, but not always easy.
“Well, you know it is hard leaving home,” he confides. “I thought my mom would cry that first day, but she didn’t.”
Rob visits family every week. They live in Weaverville and help him get to and from his job at McDonald’s.
Every day, Rob and the other residents living at the Alverta Bolick Home work together keeping their residence looking pristine. They clean their rooms – “even dust the furniture.” They do chores in the kitchen, carry their clothes hampers to the laundry room and take out the trash.
“It’s not too bad living with the other guys,” Rob reflects. “Not too bad at all.”
He and his fellow residents go to movies and community activities like locally produced plays. And like most people, they enjoy eating out.
“My favorite place, other than McDonald’s, is Cracker Barrel,” he says.
Rob spends other days of the week at the local community college. He is enrolled in special classes for developmentally disabled people. One of his favorite subjects is history, and he can quickly describe many of the presidents, especially one of his favorites.
“Abraham Lincoln was the president who was shot,” he says solemnly. This is one of the few times he is without his trademark smile.
Being the “people person” that he is, Rob finds a lot of pleasure just being around the other students and the teachers at the college.
“I like people,” he says nodding. “They make me feel happy.”
People also enjoy Rob’s company. His awareness and appreciation of others is keen. It is rare to find him in his room alone or sitting watching television alone.
“He jokes around a lot with the other guys and is lots of fun – he is quite a tease,” care giver Rosemary Kelly confides. “He is a very compassionate and gracious person.”
Rob's story was orginally featured in August 2009 on the Developmental Disabilities Ministry's webpage.
Learn more about Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina's Developmental Disabilities Ministry at www.hereismyhome.org