This is Carolina: Good Day Cafe partners with autism support group to spice up staff

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The hope is that you're always having a good day while eating at Myrtle Beach's Good Day Cafe.

This new addition to the Superblock is making a difference outside of its menu.

"They don't have disabilities, they have challenges. We're the ones with disabilities because we judge and we're the ones that take for granted what we have," Good Day Cafe owner Kevin Andrews said.

Andrews has partnered with SOS Healthcare of Myrtle Beach, a non-profit organization that helps people with autism.

"Any time I hear that a new business is open I try to go in and say, 'Do you need any help? How can we help? I'm from SOS, a non-profit … the job coach.' And it's my job to get persons with disabilities jobs," SOS job coach Lisa Graham said.

Her most recent partnership begins in March. Andrews said one "SOS-er" has already been hired and he expects to employee at least two more.

According to Graham, other groups of SOS students will come in every other Friday to help out at the restaurant.

"So by partnering with them we feel that we're doing a good deed. More than that, they're doing something good for us. They're bringing us willing individuals that can work, want to work, and may get overlooked and not have a chance to work in the community," Andrews said.

Graham said it takes a lot of effort to get her students ready for a job. Many SOS students work at Ripley's Aquarium, with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and at other local shops around the Grand Strand.

"A lot of coaching at our clinic. It's a lot of giving them one- to two-step directions to see if they can take one- to two-step directions, if they can follow that," Graham said. "There's triggers that you have to be very aware of before I send anyone into a work site. Is the noise too much? Is the lighting too much? Is it too busy?"

With all that hard work comes rewards that are priceless.

"You should see the smile on their face when Andrew was over here wiping down the tables. He was beaming. The pride that they have, they're helping and they know it," Graham said.

Working as a waiter at Good Day Cafe, though, brings a new kind of work to the table.

While watching SOS students Zach, Madison and Andrew fold napkins at a table, Andrews said he's a strong believer in the good his restaurant is doing. He hopes other eateries will consider doing the same.

"They're beautiful people and they deserve all the same chances that we get, and they're a joy to work with," Andrews said. "And I know there's going to be challenges, but I believe the positives outweigh any negatives."

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