Autistic employee is the ‘Dancing Barista’

Autistic employee is the ‘Dancing Barista’

As reported by HR Grapevine, an autistic teenager has found internet fame by demonstrating his unique method of serving coffee at work. The Starbucks employee, known only as Sam ‘The Dancing Barista’, has a form of autism where he struggles to keep parts of his body still. As a result of this he struggled making and distributing customers drinks at work. He did however work out a way to do this successfully, putting big smiles on his colleagues and customers faces along the way, by dancing. With the support of his awesome manager Chris, Sam has fulfilled his dream of becoming a barista. Go Sam!

The video was uploaded to YouTube on 22nd January 2015 by Carly Fleischmann, who also has autism, and has gone viral with over 90,000 views on YouTube already, and growing quickly.

Alongside her upload she wrote : “I would like to introduce you to a young teenager named Sam.”

“When he was offered a position to work at Starbucks Sam told his parents that for the first time in his life, that his life had real meaning. Sam was diagnosed with autism and like some people with autism Sam has a movement disorder. Sam has a hard time keeping his body still.”

“Sam never thought that he would be able to work behind the bar because of his sudden movements but his manager Chris believed in him and got Sam to channel his movements into dance.”

“It has taken Sam and Chris a lot of shifts and hours to get Sam to do what he is doing in the video. Sam is now known as the dancing barista. If it wasn’t for Chris believing in Sam he would of never believed in himself.”

“More people like Sam need to be seen, heard and given a chance to thrive and dance.”


Did you know? There are more than half a million people with autism in the UK, around 1 in every 100 people. If you include their families, autism touches the lives of over two million people each day.

“Congratulations to Carly and Sam and thank you to establishments like Starbucks for giving the opportunity for people with autism to make a difference on how people can view the world.”

Sam’s manager Chris has received lots of high praise, with many YouTube users commenting on the video to express their admiration.

One user, Allyn Bernado, wrote : “Life really gives me hope. Things like this should be viral especially to show the world that there are people there with great hearts and are willing to give anyone a chance to be who they want to be. Love this!”

Rosario Villasor added : “Congratulations to Carly and Sam and thank you to establishments like Starbucks for giving the opportunity for people with autism to make a difference on how people can view the world.”

About The Author

Thomas Anderson

Founder and MD of Inclusive Networks. Thomas was Chair of the award winning LGBT network for The Co-operative Group, ‘Respect’ (2011-14). Thomas named the network and designed and managed all of the branding, communications and engagement until he stepped down from the role of Chair in March 2014. He also created the branding, name, was Editor of the quarterly magazine and developed the launch of the UK’s first Inter-Retail LGBT network ‘CheckOUT’. He contributed to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 5 Year review. In recognition of his work in the diversity field he was shortlisted for ‘Diversity Champion of the Year’ at the 2013 European Diversity Awards, shortlisted for ‘Role Model of the Year’ at the 2012 Lesbian & Gay Foundation Homo Heroes Awards and shortlisted for the ‘Positive Action’ award at the 2013 Asian Fire Service Association Fair & Diverse Awards. He also won the 2012 ‘Pride of The Co-operative’ award. He was a judge for Scotland's biggest diversity awards, The Icon Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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