Young Man with Autism Forms Special Bond with Starbucks Barista

CC BY by ell brown

CC BY by ell brown

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Ephrata Starbucks – We love to share uplifting and positive stories here on Autism Daily Newscast and we could not resisting sharing this one.

Aaron Seldomridge a nearly -22-year-old man with autism loves Iced Chai Tea Lattes. He has  limited verbal skills but uses a picture menu to order and make purchases. This is how he ordered his first Iced Chai Tea Latte in Starbucks.

Barista, Anisa Dujnic, who has formed a special bond with Aaron told.

“Now he orders on his own … he pays and out the door he goes,”

Aaron’s parents, Janiece and Jeffrey, of Narvon, appreciate seeing their son treated like a “regular” .

Janiece voices in the Lancaster Online article:

“We all want to be recognized … in a positive way, instead of, ‘Hey, here’s that kid who comes in and spins around,’ ”

Further adding:

“I wish more people understood that everybody has value.”

Aaron visits the  Ephrata Starbucks twice a week and is accepted there. This all started with the help of barista, Anisa Dujnic, a certified elementary school teacher, of wanting to engage with Aaron.

Janiece inquired about a menu that included pictures and then on Aaron’s next visit, Anisa spotted him,and gave him the picture menu.

Janiece wrote in an email to Starbucks’ customer-service department.

“She pointed to each item and directed Aaron to do the same. She even gave him a high-five at the end. Then she … said, ‘C’mon, Aaron, let’s get you a straw.’ “

This then eventually led to  Aaron placing his own order verbally and waiting on a stool to receive his drink.  This resulted in Starbucks staff cheering and applauding him.

Anisa has worked for Starbucks for five years and hopes to land a full-time teaching job in the near future.

Janiece wrote to Starbucks saying:

“Anisa opened the gates for Aaron, and I will be forever grateful.”


The original and full article  by MARY BETH SCHWEIGERT on the Lancaster Online website can be read here