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


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

the spectrum.

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


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