My Son and Special Olympics

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker BRE #01883674

My son, Joe, is 24 years old and has Down Syndrome.  He is a joy to our family and has a personality that wins him the title of mayor wherever he goes!  Well, in most places anyway.  About six months ago he lost his job in a super market because he was expected to fit the corporate mold.  He was expected to not hug super nice people, and to not tell it like it is, yet be honest.  I won't bore you with all the details, but it was a terrible experience because you just can't put people like Joe in a box!


Fast forward to 3 weeks ago.  That was the day Joe began to play basketball for Special Olympics.  There's nothing he loves more than basketball, and in fact he was involved in Special Olympics basketball 10 years ago when we were still living on the east coast.  Then life got in the way with moving across the country and settling in, and before I knew it all this time passed without Joe's involvement.  But in my quest, after his devastating job experience, of making him feel important and fitting in, I signed him up again.  And what I witnessed that first day, and every practice since, brought me to a good way.  You see, there was 1 head coach, several assistant coaches and several "buddies", all maybe about 22 years old and younger.  Then there were several participants, all with various special needs.  And everyone was and is kind and considerate of each other and, even more importantly, ACCEPTING of one another!  Whether a timid girl was oh so slowly dribbling, or one of the guys was trying to show off, or another one of the guys was loudly yelling something insignificant to the game, they all took it in their stride, and they all allowed the other to BE!  And by "all" I mean, the coaches, the buddies and the participants.  It is a sight to behold...and very confronting!


What I took away from this is how important it is not to put people in a box, and to not only accept, but to celebrate individuality!  We are all awesomely and wonderfully made, and what makes me tick is not going to be what makes you tick.  And just like the Special Olympics basketball team, we can be accepting and allow others to be.  This includes clients, coworkers, colleagues, friends, and, most important of all, FAMILY!!

Comments (12)

Raymond E. Camp
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Ontario, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester

Good evening Jayne,

I am sorry to hear what the store is looking for from your son; when I was in grocery they may have to be shown how a few times but they were always good workers.  As for telling it like it is that is the way it should be but we have become a "politically correct: society.Just think if we were all carbon copies how the world would be.

I hope we get to see him on TV in the Olympics one of these days.

Make yourself a great day.


Feb 02, 2015 07:20 AM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

To bad people just don't get it.  This people have so much love to give and will work hard with just a little thnk you.

I have 2 grandkids with downs...4 and 2.   Very precious and always there with a hug.

Feb 02, 2015 07:29 AM
John Meussner
Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, - Walnut Creek, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852

This is a very touching post Jayne, thank you for sharing - the world would be a much better place if we allowed more people to just be.

Feb 02, 2015 07:44 AM
Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL

Jayne, I feel for you but God must have known before you did that you would be a good parent.

Feb 02, 2015 11:15 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Jayne. I am so sorry that your son experienced the ugly face of corporate bul_sh_t. That said your story warms me. The new place for acceptance is wonderful.

Feb 02, 2015 09:12 PM
Jayne Esposito
Coldwell Banker - Morgan Hill, CA

Raymond-my son would be thrilled to be on tv...he takes after me and is a ham and a half

William-how sweet that you get double the hugs!

John-amen to that!

Winston-thank you!  My husband and I do our best, along with our daughters.

Shiela-thankfully my son is resilient, and able to bounce back quickly!

Feb 02, 2015 11:12 PM
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Jayne, I'm glad your son has found something he enjoys after this job experience.  Unfortunately, people don't always react positively to those who are different from them.  

Feb 03, 2015 08:41 AM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Good morning Jayne.  For you son, and anyone, loosing a job is on the top 5 of tramatics.  I am so happy you were able to get him back up and 'shooting' soon.  I helped with Special Olympics at Northstar @Tahoe for many years and always a very rewarding experience.  Mark

Feb 09, 2015 02:30 AM
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Jayne, one of our agents in the office has a daughter, Carrie, who is involved in Special Olympics. She is a sweet loving young lady who always gives me a hug when she comes into the office...We are all very attached to her, in fact our Broker has hired Carrie as our company illustrator! If you saw our office you would realize that we don't "fit" into any box either!

Feb 16, 2015 02:24 AM
Chuck Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

Thank heavens for the special Olympics; I'm very happy to see that he has such great people to be around- especially at a time like this. I also hope Joe can once again find a work environment that can see the benefit of having a guy like Joe bless their company. 

Feb 26, 2015 10:13 PM
Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert
Richmond, TX


 I am so sorry about your son's experience, there was a young man just like your Joe at our local grocey store..I sold his parents a home then brought thier son and I said I know you son he is awesome if I ever found out the store fired him I would never go there again and make sure people knew why!

I am glad he found some place to fit in we all need that!

Feb 28, 2015 11:44 AM
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

 Good morning Jayne. I'm sorry to hear that your son lost his job. We have a similar young man working in a local store and you are right, you cannot put them in a box. They are loving and brutally honest. I'm glad he found a place to fit in.

Mar 06, 2015 05:54 PM