Moving for Love

Moving for Love

If you're a parent or caregiver, you understand the desire to see your child’s dreams come true. Special needs parenting is no different, and it is important to help children and young adults pursue their ambitions. Keith Harris, father of Tim Harris—who opened up a restaurant called Tim’s Place in Albuquerque, New Mexico—understands the significance of helping his son reach his dreams.



In 2010, Keith and his wife Jeanie supported Tim when he wanted to open up a restaurant. Tim, a young man living with Down syndrome, shared his dream with his family, and his family has been changed for the better ever since from Tim’s dream. “Tim was young when he knew he wanted to own his own business. During high school, he got a job as a host at a chain restaurant and he learned that it was something that he had a lot of passion for. The dream to have his own business and be a host is what served as the inspiration,” says Tim’s father, Keith Harris.



Tim’s Place, the first restaurant run by a person living with Down syndrome was in business for five years. During its time, it became a landmark restaurant of Albuquerque. The success was not just because of this very important milestone for individuals living with Down syndrome but also because of a unique item on the menu: hugs. Tim’s father says, “There was an item called a Tim Hug, whereby if you were a customer in the restaurant you could order a hug before, during, or after a meal. Tim gave a few hundred hugs a day.”






Now, Tim is saving all his hugs for his girlfriend Tiffani, who currently lives in Iowa. Tim and Tiffani met at the 2014 National Down Syndrome Congress Convention. After their initial meeting, they struck up a long-distance friendship, talking through Facetime. Last year at the same conference in Phoenix, they officially became a couple.



Love has no boundaries for Tim and Tiffani, and their families see this. Tim’s parents and Tiffani’s family have decided to relocate to Denver where the two can be together. Denver, which has become well known for its forward-thinking approaches to Down syndrome, is the perfect place for the young love birds and their families to settle. The location is beneficial on multiple fronts. The city is progressive in its medical advancements for individuals living with Down syndrome, and it is the headquarters for many non-profit Down syndrome groups. Also, as a graduate of Eastern New Mexico University, Tim has many college buddies who he can be reunited with. Plus, Denver’s wonderful airport will make getting around easy for Tim, who currently travels the world for his motivational speaking engagements.



Denver will also serve as the new location for Tim’s Place, which is set to re-open after the families are established in their new city. When asked how the restaurant would differ in the Mile-High City, Keith Harris responded, “The Restaurant will be quite different. We are using this time to rethink the long-term strategy. This time around, we are looking for a person who we can work with who would go into business with Tim.”



Tim’s story is a story of hope, showing us the importance of dreams and the power of love. “For all of us, if we’re patient and persistent and keep ourselves open to the possibility, we find the person who we can be with. No matter who we are. Or what challenges we have,” Keith Harris expresses.



Soon, the people of Denver will be able to get a Tim Hug and also meet the happy couple in person. And perhaps, Tim will continue encouraging more people to realize their own dreams, just as he has.




Keith Harris is the author of the Foreword in the book Reasons to Smile: Celebrating People Living with Down Syndrome.





04 February 2016


Words of Encouragement

Reasons to Smile is web and book series consisting of inspiring stories, by and about people living with special needs.


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