CLEVELAND - One man has a recent job fair to thank for his new position at a nation-wide retailer. Now, he’s gaining attention on social media for his specialty -- helping others see the possible.
Lionel Smith is the the newest greeter at the Home Depot on Berea Road. His positivity is contagious.
James Singleton was so moved talking with Smith that he recorded an interview with him on Facebook LIVE.
“You gotta stay positive, gotta be uplifting. You can’t be all doom and gloom, man, you gotta stay positive,” Smith says in the video.
The message means more coming from Smith, who’s been in a wheelchair his entire life.
“How long you been in that chair, brother?” asks Singleton.
“All my life and I’m 38,” answers Smith in the video.
Since August 8, the Facebook video has been viewed more than 300,000 times and shares nearly 6,500 times.
It's estimated that more than 1,000 people with disabilities in Cuyahoga County are actively seeking employment.
Smith attended a job fair hosted by the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities, back in March. Eighteen employers interviewed 80 applicants with special needs.
"They love to come to work. They're there every day. They stay in jobs a lot longer than people without disabilities. So for businesses looking for candidates and applicants, the individuals that we support are great fits for them," said Jared Daly with the CCBDD.
Home Depot is seeing that first hand after hiring Smith from that job fair.
“I’m living proof. They told me I wasn’t gonna walk, I wasn’t gonna talk, I wasn’t gonna make it. That was 38 years ago,” Smith says in the video.
He's not just making it, but thriving and he wants his employer to, as well.
“Everybody come to Home Depot, spend your money. Tell them Lionel made you feel good and then I get a raise!” he laughed.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities holds job fairs quarterly. Other local companies like Planet Fitness and Hyland Software participate, as well.
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