Hello everyone. I am Tim Harris. I am 26 years old and I am living the life of my dreams!!
I was born in January of 1986. A few hours after I was born, our doctor told my parents that I had Down syndrome. A lot of people told my parents that they were very, very sorry. I guess they didn’t know then just how TOTALLY AWESOME I would turn out to be. I think they should call it “UP SYNDROME.”
I am the second of four sons in my family. I have one older brother named Dan and two younger brothers named Tom and John. Growing up with three brothers was a lot of fun. They treated me like a brother – not like someone special or different. They never let me use my disability to get out of doing the dishes when it was my turn (I did try sometimes though). I love hanging out with my brothers and all of my friends.
I am very active. I exercise almost every day. I am very fit. I used to have a lot of problems with my weight. When I’m not being careful, I overeat and spend too much time in front of my TV and my computer. Anybody else have that problem?
Before, I really didn’t like the way I looked or the way I felt. I was very sad about it. So, a couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to be in great shape.
With the help of my friends, I made a commitment to working out and eating healthy. It was very hard, but I stuck with it. Over the last three years, I’ve lost about 70 pounds and I’m in the best shape of my life.
Growing up, I always played sports with my brothers and wanted to be able to compete just like they did. I started in Special Olympics when I was thirteen years old. My Special Olympic sports are basketball, poly hockey, volleyball, golf and track and field. I have dozens of gold medals – way more than that other Olympian, Michael Phelps. Many of them are on display in my restaurant.
I took a silver medal in the 4 X 100 meter relay and a bronze medal and trophy in the pentathlon in the New Mexico Special Olympics Summer Games last May.
I had a great time in High School. Eldorado High School in Albuquerque had a Special Olympics team as part of our sports program. I was captain of our basketball team for two years and earned a letter in Special Olympics. My letter jacket is now on the wall at my restaurant. I think that being athletes made me and my friends popular in high school. I was so popular that I decided to run for Homecoming King in my senior year. I was VERY happy when I won. I got to be on TV and in the newspapers.
My brothers told me that even though I was the King at school, I was NOT the King of our house.
After high school, I had a dream to go to college. In the fall of 2004, I moved to Roswell, New Mexico to attend Eastern New Mexico University. And yes it’s true, there are aliens in Roswell.
I was very scared the day my family dropped me off at college. I had never lived away from home before. After I got all moved in, I stood on my balcony and waved goodbye. As they pulled away, I cried. They told me later that they cried, too. But it didn’t take long before I was having a lot of fun living in my dorm and going to college.
I graduated in the summer of 2008 with certificates in Food Service, Office Skills and Restaurant Hosting. I’m a college graduate now.
After college, I had a dream to travel and see the world. For two winters, I lived on a sailboat with my parents and traveled in the Bahamas. We have so much fun on our boat.
I like sailing, swimming, snorkeling, fishing and blowing the Conch Shell at sunset. I also like the local food and the local beer called Kalik (my dad says he thinks I like it too much).
I also loved meeting all of the people. I made lots of friends there. One Bahamian friend told me that I should move there and run for Prime Minister. Another friend named his new son Tim, after me. I especially love the Bahamian girls!!
After college, I knew I wanted to live on my own. I love my parents a lot, but I want to have my own life. In July of 2010, I moved into my own apartment.
I shop for my own groceries, do my own laundry and pay all of my own bills. I love living in my own place. And lucky me, it’s right next door to my restaurant. I bet you wish you could walk to work in two minutes!
For over 10 years, I had a dream to own my own business. Well, I’m here to tell you that dreams do come true. I am the owner of Tim’s Place – the World’s Friendliest Restaurant located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We’re open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week.
My favorite part of the day is giving out the free Tim Hugs. They are on my menu and most people order at least one.
So far, I’ve given out over twenty thousand hugs. I even have a counter on the wall to keep track of the total. I guess you can say I’m a hugging machine…
I have even more dreams. I want to be married some day and have my own family.
Recently I started dating someone special. Her name is Whitney and we’ve known each other since elementary school. She’s really cute!! We like to watch movies together and she likes to cook for me. How cool is that?!
I don’t drive, but Whitney drives and has her own car – BONUS!! All of our friends and family think we’re a great couple. I’m very excited to have someone special in my life.
I also have a dream to inspire other people to reach for the stars. If I can do it, YOU can too.
My story has been getting a lot of attention this year. Our local news channels in Albuquerque have done stories on my life. I’ve been on local talk shows, on CNN Headline News, in People Magazine, and last June I was featured on the CBS Evening News and on CBS Sunday Morning. After CBS did their story, I’ve been featured in newspapers in over 30 countries. We think that over 20 million people have seen my story this year. I guess that means that I’ve gone global – can you believe it?
Some companies in Hollywood are interested in making a movie and a television series about me and my life. If everything works out, you might see me on the big screen next year.
Thank you for letting me share my life with you.
I hope you bring your friends and family to my restaurant in Albuquerque some day. Our food is really good and the Tim Hugs are free.
You can read more about me on my website. See you at Tim’s Place!