A Car Wash Employing Autistic People
Employment remains the biggest challenge worldwide. Both developed and developing
countries unemployment is puzzle that has not been easy to solve. Though, many countries are
trying their level best to beat this, many underlined issues are making it impossible. Corruption
is one of the factors that have seen many people unemployed. What is corruption? Is a form
of dishonesty or criminal offense undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a
position of authority, to acquire illicit benefit or abuse power for one private gain.
Many qualified youths miss on opportunities because of corruption. For instance, in Kenya
corruption is the main obstacle to fair delivery of services. With the famous corruption
slung in Kenya, ’DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO KNOWS SOMEONE SOMWHERE’ has seen
unemployment to be the leading obstacle in development.
With all these challenges, youths have become innovative starting their own businesses
and becoming self-employed. What happens to those who don’t have capital to start their
own businesses? How do they survive?
The other groups that face double stigma as far unemployment is concerned are persons
with disabilities. The society has not yet accepted or put to consideration the role persons
with disabilities can play in employment sector. With the Kenyan government under the
2010 constitution increasing the number of employment opportunities for persons with
disabilities, has seen the norm changing though not fully realization.
Organizations have come through for these groups to create opportunities and kill the
societal stigma on persons with disabilities. Safaricom, Signs TV and many other companies
have employed persons with disabilities.
As the fight to change the norm of employment and persons with disabilities is picking
positively, many people are coming up with businesses to accommodate person with
In the US, John D’Eri has founded a car wash business with his son Thomas in Parkland.
His mission is to create a social enterprise to give people with autism an opportunity to
have real opportunities and real jobs that would challenge them and give them skills. The
car wash by the name the Rising Tide Car Wash, hires mostly people on the autism
D’Eri was inspired by his son, who was diagnosed with autism when he was a toddler.
“My son Andrew is on the spectrum,” he said. “There were no opportunities for him
whatsoever. I have always been a serial entrepreneur. So I decided that the best thing I
could do was try to give him empowerment through employment versus some form of
institutionalization like a group home.”
Who would think that a car wash would be an important way of impacting the autism
community? D’Eri says that, he and his son Thomas did a lot of research, and that’s how
they came up with a car wash as a high-impact model for a social enterprise for people on
As the world is still fighting the corona virus pandemic, the car wash has put measures to
help curb the spread and protect clients and employees from contracting the virus. They
have developed a protocol whereby they disinfect cars with fogging equipment so that
nobody would enter a car unless it is already COVID-killed.
On the full-service side, people stay in their cars and don’t get out. They don’t congregate in
the lobby. When they don’t get out of their cars, the team members will immediately fog the
door handles and the dashboard disinfect all the high touch areas along with them.
As the car wash continues to grow, Over 180 individuals with autism have been hired
through Rising Tide with 80 current employees on staff with autism. There are over 75
Rising Tide alumni with autism working at new jobs in the community.
By Silas Abbas