21 March 2014

A STROLL WITH TIM HARRIS (For World Down Syndrome Day)

"Dad they think she has Down Syndrome. 'He smiled genuinely as his eyes welled up with tears.' That's okay. We love her." ~Kelle Hampton

(Image Credit: People.com)
Tim's place is tagged the world's friendliest restaurant, and on the menu? Breakfast, lunch... and hugs! Yes, hugs!

Tim's place and the success of Tim Harris is a sharp contradiction with his condition--Down Syndrome--which sets people up for a sad, sorry, unproductive life, but Tim has turned that 'obstacle' into a spring board, leaping himself into the life of his dreams. Apart from being a restaurateur, Tim is also an athlete who competes in the special Olympics--trust me, he's got more gold medals than Usain bolt and Michael Phelps!

I'm doing this stroll with Tim, not just to inspire people with down syndrome and disabilities around the world, but also to inspire the able people who are living in depression and misery; blaming all their woes on the government; and doing nothing about their dreams. Tim shared his story with me, and also gave me an insight into the secret recipe for running the world's friendliest restaurant. Here's my stroll with Tim;

Ebenezar: Thank you so much for having this stroll with me Tim.

Tim: Thank you for having me, I am excited to be talking with you.

Ebenezar: I saw a short documentary about you and Tim's Place, and you said you had the dream of setting up a restaurant since childhood--which you have already done now. But first, let's talk about your childhood, what was growing up with Down syndrome like? Did you ever get picked on, bullied, and all that.

Tim: It feels awesome to have down syndrome.

Ebenezar: (hahaha) Wow! really?

Tim: Yes, it does. I did get bullied. One time comes to mind.... I was bullied, kids stole my lunch money and the varsity football team stepped in and stopped it. I am lucky to have good friends
Tim speaking at the Global Down Syndrome Foundation
Ebenezar: How were you able to overlook your condition and forge ahead to fulfill your dreams? What kept you going?

Tim: Simple.Good support from my family.

Ebenezar: Oh, I see, that's great. I really commend your family. This may sound like a stupid question, but do you ever look back at your life and wish you never had Down Syndrome? Perhaps your life would be way better without it?

Tim: (haha) No it's not, I have thought about it actually, and I wouldn't change it, because we are born awesome..........we are the world
Ebenezar: Wow, that's so cool. Do you have any advice for people suffering from Down syndrome around the world?

Tim: I would tell new parents just finding out their child has Down Syndrome, not to freak out, because we are special. We are more alike than different. We are a gift to world.
Ebenezar: let's talk about Tim's place now. It's like the happiest restaurant in the world; with a lot of smiles and foods. And above all you emphasize on giving hugs, what is it about hugs? Is that your secret ingredient?
Tim: The hugs are made with love and it makes the restaurant super friendly. I think people come back for the hugs....

Ebenezar: (haha) I'm sure they do, I mean who doesn't like free hugs? 

Tim: Yeah! and desserts, like the blueberry lemon pie.

Ebenezar: I know you earlier mentioned that your family supports you, but how much support do they give to the restaurant?

Tim: A lot. my family also supports me in special Olympics, and my whole family supports me in owning my restaurant.

Ebenezar: That's awesome, You also do a happy dance on your way to work everyday! I mean, You have a very happy life man, happier than many people who are 'not disabled'--in quote--how do you manage to stay happy always?

Tim: I stay happy because I feel the love, like in the Beach boys song "Barbara Ann". I like to make every body happy.

Tim and his medals
Ebenezar: I'm already infected with your happiness right now bro. it's really inspiring!

Tim: (hahaha) Thanks!

Ebenezar: Is Tim's place the only dream you have? Or are there other things you wish to achieve?

Tim: It has been a dream of mine for a long time, if it was not for my staff, Tim's place would not be here. I would like to be married and have a child. I would like to be a personal trainer, I love working out! I would like other people to be healthy like me. I want to be the king of karaoke.

Ebenezar: Wow!

Tim: Yeah, everyone shows off their talents, it is fun to hear peoples good voices and see their dance moves.

Ebenezar: Thank you so much once again for your time, Tim. God bless you and I wish you success in all your endeavors.

Tim: It was a pleasure answering your questions Ebenezar, if you see someone with Down Syndrome show them that you care about them and love them, it is amazing to see what they can do to the world when they have the love and support to reach their dreams.

Ebenezar: I sure would, thanks.

For more about Tim Harris and to check the menu at Tim's place, visit timsplaceabq.com

People with down syndrome often face a lot of discrimination, stigma, and exclusion. This is an infringement on the Fundamental human right of a human being. Stop the stigma against people with Down syndrome. They are special, and just like Tim said God knows why they are who they are, and they have unique gifts and talents just like everyone else. Take Tim for instance, can you see how much he has achieved with support from family and friends?

For now, all we know is, Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder and we are yet to hear of a widespread cure of any kind--although there are some things on the internet purporting stuffs like that, but nothing concrete yet. So I'll like to throw a challenge to scientists and the rest of humanity--including me--If we could make ourselves fly for thousands of kilometers without wings; talk to people many miles away from us without becoming spirits; and consciously make ourselves uncomfortable by inventing skinny jeans, why can't we find the cure for down syndrome?

Till my next stroll; when I'll be talking with Sage Hasson, Nigeria's spoken word poetry king--for World Poetry Day--be good, Jesus loves you.

                                                                                                           Ebenezar Wikina

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born in your mother's womb, I set you apart..." (Jeremiah 1v5, New International Version)

A Stroll with Dominique Ansel (For World Food Day)


  1. Wow! Ebenezar this is awesome! Thank You Tim for beaking even and for being a shining Star, Dude You Rock Big time, Am so inspired and I promise to do more in support of Down Syndrome. Keep the flag flying higher! And this is my best part of the stroll from Tim's reply 'I stay happy because I feel the love, like in the Beach boys song "Barbara Ann". I like to make every body happy. Thanks keep smiling!
    Vivien Ngozika


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