RICHMOND – Jake Larsen is part of the Gen Z generation and he wants to work at a job despite his limited abilities. The 19-year-old is wheelchair bound.

He was born with spina bifida, but he doesn’t let that slow him down. He goes after life with gusto. Early on he wanted to earn his own money and went looking for a job. He found one at Big J’s located at 190 S 200 W. in Richmond. It was in 2020 during the pandemic and he has been working there ever since.

Jake’s father, Travis, said his son had some friends that worked at Big J’s and he thought his son just went out there to see if he could get hired. His sisters are the same way, they also worked while going to high school.

“He went out there and filled out an application and Dave Johnson, the owner, liked him and hired him.

“I think he wanted to work there because he had some friends who worked there,” he said. “He honestly works all the time, and he pays for things with his own money. With his limited ability Dave found a place for him and he put him in a position to be successful.”

Jake takes orders, he wears a headset, and no one knows he’s sitting in a wheelchair while he’s at work. He started working right after his 15th birthday and has put in about 15 hours a week since then.

“He also ushers at football and basketball games at the university. Jake also gets called in for special events like graduation at Utah State University,” Travis said. “He takes tickets and shows people around and gets them to their seat. The university puts him over a sizable area.”

He’s a good kid and he likes dealing with the public most of the time, his father said.

“Some days he comes home happy and sometimes not,” Travis said. “When it goes well at work, he comes home happy but sometimes customers don’t treat him so good, and he is not so happy when he returns home.”

Jake takes Cache Valley Transit District, Call A Ride service to work in the afternoon and his family picks him up after his shift ends.

Johnson remembers when Jake came in looking for work.

“There was something special about him, he impressed me. I wanted him to work for us,” he said. “It was during COVID, and we couldn’t get people to work for us and he wanted to work.”

He had a good attitude, and he was willing to work even though he had every reason not to, Johnson said.

“We found a place for him,” he said. “Most people don’t know he is in a wheelchair when he takes their order.”

He has earned respect and friendships with the people he works with. He likes to have fun and joke with his co-workers.

“I love this kid,” said Johnson. “While some kids that work here complain when things don’t go the way they think it should, I’ve never heard Jake complain about anything. He’s happy to be at work and always has a good attitude.”

Although sometimes it is harder for Jake to do some of the tasks, he does them anyway.

“Dave is awesome. He has been super good with me,” Jake said. “I’ve tried to get other jobs; I send out resumes and I don’t hear anything. With Dave it was easy.”

Jake said the job is harder than most people think. There is a lot more to taking orders.  

“When I take orders, most people don’t realize it’s much harder than they think,” he said. “I’ve had people be rude to me. I think they are having a bad day, and they don’t know what I am going through and that is why sometimes it gets to me.”

Jake is planning to go to USU in the fall. He is not sure what he wants to major in, but he said his dream job would be working as a sports broadcaster for football and basketball games.

Source link

Leave a Reply