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'Dreams Come True': Restaurant Owner Thrives Despite Disability — One Hug at a Time


"Oh yeah!"

Tim Harris (Image source: WJW-TV)

He's the owner of the "world's friendliest" restaurant. After all, the menu offers breakfast, lunch — and hugs.

Tim Harris (Image source: WJW-TV) Tim Harris (Image source: WJW-TV)

Since Tim Harris, 28, opened his Albuquerque eatery four years ago, he's happily hugged many a customer — including famous folks such as iconic singer Stevie Wonder, "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks...and even President Obama.

Image source: WJW-TV Image source: WJW-TV

But Harris' greater claim to fame is that he's the only restaurant owner in America with Down syndrome, WJW-TV in Cleveland reported.

“About 15 years I dreamed of owning my own business," Harris told advocates for those with developmental disabilities this week. "Well I am here to tell you that dreams come true."

[sharequote align="center"]"I am here to tell you that dreams come true."[/sharequote]

Besides opening "Tim's Place" in 2010 with his parents' help, Harris attended eastern New Mexico University where he earned certificates in food service, WJW said, and he’s logged time at many restaurants to gain experience.

And if that isn't enough, Harris is giving back through his own non-profit, Tim’s Big Heart Foundation, which he launched last month.

"The goal of my foundation is to help people with disabilities to start their own businesses," Harris told the Cleveland crowd on Tuesday before letting loose with a victory cry. "Oh yeah!"

Image source: WJW-TV Image source: WJW-TV

One audience member called Harris' achievements "impressive" — but quickly noted they're not that surprising.

"I think his family are all entrepreneurs," Lula Holt Robertson of the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities told WJW, "so he’s not that different from everybody else in his family."

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