New Columbus restaurant provides jobs for people with disabilities

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — On the menu at Special Dogs & More, there are many choices.

Some more traditional, like a Slaw Dog and Coney Dog. Others are more custom made.

But six and a half years ago, owners Robin and Randy Lapidus only had one choice.

“There was no giving up,” said Randy.

19 at the time, their daughter, Rachel, was in the middle of an argument when she went into cardiac arrest, leading to brain damage from a lack of oxygen.

“Se was a full-time student, she was working full-time, she had a boyfriend, a cute little convertible; she went from that to being on life support and the doctor telling us there was no hope,” Randy said.

“They told us she was never gonna walk or talk again and we refused to give up,” said Robin.

Through a variety of therapies, Rachel learned to walk and talk again.

“It’s been a lot of trial and error. it’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” said Robin.

But when it came time for her to get a job, there were few choices.

“What we found was, finding a job for someone with a mental disability is not easy,” said Randy.

So her parents bought an ice cream truck to help give Rachel and her mom a job.

“The therapy that Rachel got on that truck and the money that’s raised on that truck is what’s helped with her recovery,” said Randy.

A recovery that is allowing her to work in at Special Dogs & More, a restaurant in the Fair Oaks Mall in Columbus that her parents opened in Mid-October to not only help her, but others like her. The Lapidus’ have hired 7 people with intellectual disabilities so far.

“This is a blessing. There’s something about doing this.The expression on their faces when they’re back there cooking, that money can’t buy. You can have all the money in the world and not be as happy as we are right now,” he said.

All because they made the choice to never give up.