AN autistic man has been overwhelmed with job offers after he penned a heart-wrenching letter asking employers to “take a chance on me”.
Ryan Lowry, a 20-year-old high school graduate from Leesburg, Virginia, posted his hand-written cover letter to LinkedIn last month, hoping to make a few connections and kick-start a career in IT or animation.
In the earnest note, which was penned on lined paper, Ryan explained that he has autism, a “unique sense of humor”, a keen interest in maths and technology, in addition to a tireless work ethic.
“I realize that someone like you will have to take a chance on me, I don’t learn like typical people do,” Lowry wrote. “I would need a mentor to teach me, but I learn quickly, once you explain it, I get it. I promise that if you hire me and teach me, you’ll be glad that you did. I will show up every day, do what you tell me to do, and work really hard.”
Since sharing the letter three weeks ago, Ryan’s post has since gone viral on LinkedIn, garnering more than six million views, 180,000 likes, and eliciting responses from the likes of Amazon and Microsoft.
Ryan’s parents, Rob and Tracy Lowry, say they couldn’t be more proud of their son, adding he’s scheduled to speak with representatives from several Fortune 500 companies in the coming weeks.
“Ryan is capable of so much,” Rob told Today. “The goal here for Ryan is independence. He can live in our basement for the rest of his life. We’d love it. But Tracy and I are going to die someday, and he needs to be able to live independently. We’re cautiously optimistic.”
Ryan, who recently celebrated his 20th birthday, is about to complete a post-graduate high school program for special needs children.
He currently works at a coffee shop called SimplyBe, however his employment is due to end once he graduates.
Dreaming of kick-starting a career in animation, Ryan decided to hand write a cover letter after speaking with his dad and younger brother.
“He was going to do it on his computer and his younger brother thought, ‘Why don’t you write it?’” Rob told CNN.
His father said they also thought posting the letter on LinkedIn would also be more effective than sending it in the mail.
Ryan captioned the post, “Please send my letter to future employers”.
“Dear Future Employer,” he began, before introducing himself and explaining he has autism.
But Ryan insisted that his condition is not the only thing worth knowing about him.
“I also have a unique sense of humor, am gifted at math, really good at technology, and a really quick learner,” he wrote.
“Please let me know if you would like to talk about this with me. Thank you,” he concluded.
In addition to the thousands of comments the post has since received, Ryan has been inundated with over 2,000 connection requests, countless people offering to mentor him and even numerous job offers.
“LinkedIn actually shut Ryan down because there was so much activity, they thought something untoward was going on,” Rob told Today.
One company to reach out that really stood out to Ryan and his family was Exception Minds, a three-year program designed to teach people with autism about animation.
“There have been a lot of people who want to talk with him,” his mom Tracy told WJLA.
“I’m very proud of him. Every mom wants is for their children to grow up and have a life and support themselves and be independent and just the fact that he put himself out there and he’s handling it and we are hearing from people and it’s just amazing.”
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Tracy said she and Rob have been heart-warmed by the response to their son’s letter, and reading some of the comments on the post has proved emotional for them.
“I’m in awe and never thought this would happen over one written letter,” Tracy said. “I’m overwhelmed with joy for Ryan and for it opening a whole topic of conversation among employers to helping … people other than Ryan.
“I lay in bed at night and I cry reading the messages,” she continued. “This raw, vulnerable letter has opened up so many opportunities.”
Ryan, meanwhile, is said to be busy getting his resume and portfolio together.
He’s very confident he will land his dream career in animation one day soon, Tracy said.