Ever since he sustained a brain injury as a teen, Owen Lima has had a hard time finding work.
Because he must be accompanied by a service dog, employers hesitate to take him on. The experience is a deeply isolating one, since Lima is met with resistance at every turn when all he wants to do is put in an honest day's work to support himself and his service dog, Blue.
Upon learning about a job fair at a local Lowe's store in Regina, Saskatchewan, Lima and Blue decided to check it out. Much to his surprise, store managers didn't just accept his application. They went ahead and hired both of them!
All they had to do was outfit Blue with his very own uniform and give him a blanket to use during breaks.
As manager Paolo Gallo explained to BuzzFeed, "Owen’s been in this community for a very long time, so a lot of the customers who shop in our store know him."
"The customers are happy that he actually has a job, and they’re happy that we took the dog in with him," he said. And who wouldn't want to be greeted by such a precious face when they're out shopping?
"It's so hard to find a job where people can accept me for the way I am and the fact that I have a service dog with me," Lima explained to CBS News.
Owen Lima and his buddy Blue are thrilled to go to work every day and be treated as equals in their community. Millions of people with special needs have so much to offer, and it's up to businesses to tap into their potential and give them the opportunities they deserve. We should all follow Lowe's Canada's lead!