Jacob’s Ladder

With a little help from his parents and friends, Jacob McFarland of Norristown, Pennsylvania, has overcome obstacles that should be an inspiration to us all. He’s 21 years old and has autism, which to many might mean that he is doomed to social and professional limitations. However, because of his upbeat and can-do spirit, Jacob has defied those odds!

In return for their love and belief in him, Jacob has always wanted to help his parents and friends and he’s now doing that as a coffee shop business owner (also a perfect venue to bring people together).

An added amazing bonus that has surfaced out of Jacob’s business, is that it has become a training ground for people with disabilities, where they can learn how to open and run a business or where they can practice interview skills and obtain jobs. Whichever route a disabled person feels suited to, each trainee can work on being productive, making a professional contribution to his or her own life, and enhancing social connections.

What started out as a seedling, but essential business, in the form of a coffee cart, outside of his parents’ non-essential business (a record store that had to close during the pandemic) has become a fully blooming (and booming) business, called the Coffee Closet.

If you’re ever in Norristown, Pennsylvania, stop in for a cup of java and jaw awhile with Jacob and his parents. This young man’s amazing transformation, essentially a kind of biblical tale, is inspiring -at any stage of life, disabled or not- to any who may feel entombed in immobility, to realize that almost anything is possible if we try one step up at a time, to keep putting one foot over the other, on the rungs of Jacob’s ladder, and refuse to look down.

Photo by Christophe Ferron on Unsplash