SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Santa had a surprise and an exciting new life experience for the newest members of the Savannah Bitty and Beau’s Coffee team.
You’ve got to like a place that has work parties before they are actually working.
“I was really excited. I didn’t even know about it."
Bitty and Beau’s Coffee is still a few weeks away from opening in downtown Savannah, but on Sunday, the company that focuses on hiring adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities had a celebration for employees - except they didn’t know they were employees yet.
“They thought they were coming for a cookie and caroling party and it looks like they were all tricked,” said Blair Christie, General Manager, Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, Savannah.
It was one of the company’s surprise hiring events - with 10 guests called up to receive presents from Santa - and when they opened their boxes, they found a gift, and a life-changing opportunity.
“I feel happy and I feel wonderful,” said employee, Kinzie.
“I’m just really excited because this gives me new hope, because I had lost that after I lost my previous job. I’m just really excited,” said employee, Alison.
Savannah is the latest community being impacted by the company that was started in Wilmington, NC by Amy and Ben Wright - who named it for their two youngest children who have Down Syndrome.
“For most of our employees, probably about 95 percent, it’s their first job ever, and it’s not because they’re not capable of working, it’s just that people haven’t given them an opportunity, and you can just see the confidence in them realizing that you value them, and I think that just makes your heart swell."
Hearts were full Sunday, when after a few Christmas carols, Bitty and Beau’s Savannah secret was out of Santa’s bag.
“They’ll be learning how to run the register, do barrister work, clean the shop and just present and make customers feel welcome.”
“I’m so happy for her, and for me for her to have this opportunity to just be a part of the community and give back. I’m just so thankful for that.”
Construction should be completed at Bitty and Beau’s on Congress Street in a couple of weeks, at which time the staff will be trained for their new jobs before the grand opening on a yet-to-be announced date.