Lowcountry 20-year-old with autism celebrates milestone at work

VIDEO: Lowcountry 20-year-old with autism celebrates milestone at work

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A few days a week, customers at a Publix on James Island can see 20-year-old Noah Lisle bagging groceries, gathering carts and doing other jobs around the store.

He recently celebrated his fourth anniversary working at Publix and is getting a lot of attention because of a social media post.

“Gosh, it took off!” his father Michael Lisle said. He posted about his son’s achievement on LinkedIn and it went viral.

In the post, Michael said in part, “Proud of my son for reaching his 4th anniversary working for Publix Super Markets! He has learned so much from working and his self-confidence has grown tremendously as he’s mastered new skills in his first job... My son happens to be autistic, in the same way that he’s blonde, slender, and unintentionally funny. He’s also a valued member of his team because his employer ensures that he receives the training and support he needs to succeed.”

At last check, it has more than 311,500 reactions.

Michael never expected the post to get so much attention.

“I got so many messages from people who were in similar situations to us; had a child who was getting ready to enter adulthood and they weren’t quite sure what was going to happen for them,” he said.

When asked about how the last four years have gone, Noah said, “It’s been great.”

His favorite thing to do at work is bagging and talking to customers. His mother, Jennifer, said it’s important for him to get the social interaction.

“He really enjoys talking to the customers as he’s bagging and walking them out. And it is very different...having that label, so to speak, of autistic and being so social at the same time,” she added.

Noah went through four interviews to get the job and said it was nerve-racking. However, four years later and he still enjoys going to work and seeing new people.

“I want to try to be more proactive with people and talk to them like, ‘How’s your day?’” Noah said.

His parents want to encourage conversation about employing other kids or adults with disabilities.

“We’re incredibly proud of Noah for reaching four years with his first job,” Michael said. “And I think there’s a message there for employers as well, and it’s not just about inclusion. It’s about being intentional with regard to people with disabilities in thinking about how you structure job descriptions, how you structure the way that people work so that you’re giving them a chance to show off their strengths.”

All three are very appreciative of this opportunity and the customers who have shown kindness over the last four years.

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