Breakfast, Lunch, and (Labor Day) Hugs

Although Labor Day weekend evokes happy thoughts: trips to the beach, family barbecues, the first football game of the season, the word “labor” without the “weekend” doesn’t have the same connotations. At least for most of us. Yes, “work” is a four-letter word, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be joyful or meaningful. After all, the original intent of Labor Day was to acknowledge the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. In that spirit, I wanted to share the story of one worker with an attitude I find truly inspiring.

Twenty-six year old restaurateur Tim Harris is the owner of Tim’s Place, a breakfast and lunch establishment in Albuquerque, New Mexico, known to many as the world’s friendliest restaurant. Their tag line is: “Breakfast, Lunch, and Hugs.” Free hugs are on the menu and more than 40,000 have been ordered up so far! In addition to its warm, huggy atmosphere, what makes Tim’s Place special is that it is the only restaurant in the U.S. whose owner has Down Syndrome. (Tim’s father and a full-time General Manager work behind the scenes, while Tim serves as the greeter and company ambassador.)

Despite his disability, Tim graduated from college and earned certificates in Food Service and Office Skills. To gain experience, he worked at a variety of local restaurants including CiCi’s Pizza, Golden Corral, IHOP, Red Robin and Applebee’s, before owning his own establishment. Tim rises each morning at 5:30 am, does a happy “dance of magic” in the parking lot before going into work, and spends the next several hours hugging and charming his customers.

Labor Day HugsIf this young man can work past his disability, if he can work diligently without excuses and with a joyful attitude, can’t we all? Tim’s story calls to mind a poem written by Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959), a newspaper writer, radio personality and write of popular verse. Here are two excerpts from his poem to ponder this Labor Day weekend.


How do you tackle your work each day?
Are you scared of the job you find?
Do you grapple the task that comes your way
With a confident, easy mind?
Do you stand right up to the work ahead
Or fearfully pause to view it?
Do you start to toil with a sense of dread
Or feel that you’re going to do it?….
Success! It’s found in the soul of you,
And not in the realm of luck!
The world will furnish the work to do,
But you must provide the pluck.
You can do whatever you think you can,
It’s all in the way you view it….

Ask for a side of hugs with your breakfast this weekend,
(and don’t forget to do your magic dance before returning to work on Tuesday)
Happy Labor Day!
~Bob and The Matchmaker Team