The famous quote from Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it” has been the driving force behind the life of Tim Harris. Born in 1986 with Down Syndrome, Tim’s life has been defined by exceeding expectations and inspiring those around him.
As a 2004 graduate of Eldorado High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Tim was elected homecoming king by the highest margin of votes in school history. During graduation week, Tim was also voted Student of the Year by the administration, faculty, and staff.
In his teen years, Tim began to dream of owning his own restaurant. He began working in local restaurants, including Red Robin, where the management had tangible proof that revenue went up during Tim’s shifts. In the fall of 2004, Tim moved to Roswell, New Mexico to attend Eastern New Mexico University. Tim lived in a college dorm and graduated in 2008 with certificates in Food Service, Office Skills and Restaurant Hosting. After college, Tim worked as a host at Applebee’s restaurant and spent time living aboard a sailboat with his parents and traveling throughout the Bahamas.
In October of 2010, the next chapter began and with the help of his family, Tim’s dream of owning his own business came true. Tim’s Place opened its doors in Albuquerque, New Mexico as one of the first and only restaurants to be owned by a man with Down syndrome. Tim’s Place is open daily, serving breakfast, lunch, and hugs.
Tim’s hugs have reached everyone from music legend Stevie Wonder to the President of the United States. To this day, Tim has given out more than 60,000 hugs and has received wishes from over 38 countries. Tim has also launched a powerful speaking career, travelling across the country telling his story and inspiring all those who cross his path.
Tim’s successful determination to own a restaurant, live a happy life and inspire others has caught the attention of people from all over the world. Tim was recently interviewed on The View and has been featured in People Magazine, CBS Evening News / Sunday Morning, America Online, ABC News, NBC Today Show, NBC Nightly News, National Public Radio, and on CNN News.
In order to truly share his success, in August of 2014 Tim started Tim’s Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a newly formed New Mexico non-profit corporation that aims to inspire people from all over the world to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives via entrepreneurship and inclusion in their communities. Tim’s goal is to help other individuals with intellectual disabilities start their own business. Tim believes that anyone, with the right support, can achieve their dreams.