Ryan Lowry is a young man with autism who has big dreams. Determined to accomplish them by landing a job in animation or in the IT field, Ryan wrote a letter to prospective employers. Ryan’s letter, which quickly went viral on LinkedIn, asked simply that someone take a chance and give him a shot. In it, he ensured readers that, while he learns differently than most, he is smart, hard-working, and a quick study, stating, “I promise that if you hire me and teach me, you’ll be glad that you did.”
Since posting a picture of his handwritten letter, Ryan has been showered with kindness and support. With over 7 million views in just a few weeks and thousands of comments to boot, it’s safe to say that people are inspired by his bravery and determination.
Ryan’s letter to ‘future employers’ opens by naming his autism while also highlighting his many defining qualities, stating, “I have autism. I also have a unique sense of humor, am gifted at math, really good with technology, and a really quick learner.”
His letter explains, “I am interested in a job in animation, or in IT. I realize that someone like you will have to take a chance on me, I don’t learn like typical people do.” That said, Ryan goes on to ensure potential employers that he has what it takes and that, with a little mentoring, he’s confident in his ability to succeed.
When Ryan was about a year and a half old, his family started to notice that his eye contact and speech weren’t consistent with others his age. It was around this time that Ryan was diagnosed with autism. Despite his natural intellect and adored personality, his parents knew that life would be a bit more difficult for him due to his diagnosis, especially in regards to working and gaining independence.
Rob explained to The Washington Post, “Tracy and I are going to die someday, and he needs to be able to work independently and live his own life.” Unfortunately, statistics show that an overwhelming number of autistic adults are unemployed, with an unemployment rate of 83% in the US alone during 2017.
For this reason, Ryan’s parents have worked hard to give him the best chance at independence. Ryan is enrolled in a program at school that teaches him work and life skills. He even works a part-time job at a coffee shop in town, putting his education to practice in a more hands-on, experiential way.
Lucky for his parents, however, Ryan’s dreams are much bigger than small towns and coffee shops. And his enthusiastic letter might have proven enough to put his parents’ worries to rest.
After going viral, countless strangers contacted Ryan and his family, moved by his letter, and impressed by his courage. According to The Washington Post, Ryan was flooded with offers from major companies, “including Amazon, Dell, and Microsoft.” He has been offered employment as well as a scholarship to an animation program that is specifically geared towards adults with autism. He’s even started one-on-one mentorship sessions with an animator at a local nonprofit.
But perhaps the most impactful is how Ryan’s simple handwritten letter has inspired the autism community. His LinkedIn post has become a space for encouragement and support, cultivating kindness among strangers.
In the comments, one user wrote, “I too have autism, and I know how hard this can be. If you’d like, I would be happy to help coach, teach and mentor you and help you follow your dreams.” Another wrote, “I also have autism and am trying to get a desktop support job but can’t get to the interview stage so I’m working on my associate’s degree and hopefully that will help me get my dream job in it.”
“I think there is something wonderful that’s going to come out of it for Ryan, but I do believe we can also help a lot of people that are in the same boat,” Ryan’s mom, Tracy Lowry, told The Washington Post. “If it opened the eyes of companies about how they can help the neurodiverse population, that would be very satisfying.”
And we couldn’t agree more! It’s incredible to think about what we can accomplish when we believe in ourselves. It’s even more heartwarming when the courage to put ourselves out there is met by an outpouring of kindness, support, and community. So thank you, to Ryan for being brave and following his dreams, and to the kind people everywhere that have cheered him on along the way!