STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
All right. It's time for StoryCorps, which records conversations across this country. In Albuquerque, New Mexico there's a restaurant called Tim's Place, named after a man with Down syndrome, 27-year-old Tim Harris. He calls it the world's friendliest restaurant - works there six days a week, greeting each customer. He started the business in 2010 with help from his dad, Keith, and a father and son recently sat down for StoryCorps.
KEITH HARRIS: Tim, talk about the day the restaurant opened. What was that like for you?
TIM HARRIS: It felt awesome. I wanted to own a restaurant ever since I was a kid. That was my dream.
HARRIS: So when somebody comes to your restaurant for the first time, when do they get to see you?
HARRIS: When they come through that front door. And when they see me, they'll just melt into my arms for a hug.
HARRIS: So what's the hard part about having Down syndrome?
HARRIS: In school, I remember some kids called me the R-word. I was not happy.
HARRIS: When you were in high school, how did you decide that you wanted to go to college?
HARRIS: I wanted to learn to be independent, so I can become a businessman.
HARRIS: When your mom and I dropped you off that first day, Tim, we really didn't want to leave. Maybe around 2:00 you looked at your watch and said, I think you guys better get back to Albuquerque, it's a long drive. And I still remember what it felt like to get in that car and drive away. It was one of the most scary and sad moments of my life. What was that like for you?
HARRIS: I pretty much, like, stayed in my room because I was upset, missing my mom and dad. That was the saddest part. I cried in my pillow. My pillow was nothing but tears. So I decided to knock it off and make friends. It didn't take long.
HARRIS: Did you have parties in the dorm and stuff like that?
HARRIS: Oh, yeah. Dance parties too.
HARRIS: Nice. So when you meet families in the restaurant and other places that have babies and little kids with Down syndrome, what kind of advice do you have for those families?
HARRIS: I think those families have somebody very special. Families tell me you inspire my kid, there's hope for my son or daughter. And when I see people with disabilities and they tell me, Tim, I want to be like you, it's pretty cool. Hey, Dad, can I ask you a question?
HARRIS: How does it feel having a son with a disability?
HARRIS: You know, Tim, when you were born I was filled with a lot of doubts about whether I could be a good enough dad to be your dad, and many years later now, I'm so happy to have you in my life. I'm very, very proud of you and what you've become.
HARRIS: Dad, you are the most loving dad ever. And Mom too. You guys are my superheroes. And having you in my life, that makes me special.
INSKEEP: That's Tim Harris of the restaurant Tim's Place in Albuquerque with his dad, Keith Harris. Their conversation will be archived at the Library of Congress. The podcast is at NPR.org.
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