Teen with disability learning he got a job will make you smile

Ben Sunderman, a McKinney teen with disability, was elated last week when he got an acceptance letter for his first job from the Embassy Suites. Jobin Panicker has more.

McKINNEY – Ben Sunderman is a very focused young man.

He told News 8 on Thursday that he has three goals before he turns 21: Get a Job, get strong, and have a girlfriend.

The latter two are still a work in progress. But the 19-year-old took a very huge step last week when he opened his mailbox.

"We waited Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and here I'm really nervous," his mother, Sharon, said.

It wasn't just any letter. It was an acceptance letter for an internship at Embassy Suites.

"I've never videotaped anything in my life!" she said.

But this moment needed it. In the kitchen, a 19-year-old with special needs learned his future. His mother shot Ben opening the letter and got the reaction on her cell phone camera.

WATCH:Cellphone video of Ben reading acceptance letter

"It took forever, because he was reading every single line of the letter, which is why I kept saying, 'Ben don't you get it?'" mom said.

You could tell Ben was savoring the moment, reading that acceptance letter word by word.

"He figured it out at the end. But there was this little delay. He puts the letter down and goes crazy," his father, Scott, said.

That moment was absolute bliss. On the cellphone video, Ben is recorded yelling "I got a job!"

Nicole Buvari of Embassy Suites sent that letter to 11 other students with special needs. Buvari tells News 8 that Frisco ISD partnered with the hotel to host 12 students with special needs to help them gain valuable skills. It's called Project Search.

"When I saw that… I'm so glad his parents taped it," Buvari said.

Ben's internship will start in August and will entail learning valuable skills in housekeeping, administrative services, and even in the banquet hall.

"[It will] Allow the opportunity for these young adults to gain independent living skills and employability," Buvari said.

Add that to the skills Ben already has. For one, it's giving people a reason to smile.

"You can't look at that video and not smile and be excited," his mom said.

So, two goals down, and one to go.

"So you got a year to find a girlfriend?" his dad said.

"Dad!" Ben responded.


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