21-Year-Old Man with Down Syndrome Lands Job at UPS as He Continues to Break Down Barriers
A man with Down syndrome is proving naysayers wrong — and his latest accomplishment is landing a gig with UPS!
Jake Pratt recently marked a new life accomplishment when he earned a job working for the nationwide delivery service as a package runner, his sister Amy Hyde tells PEOPLE.
Hyde first tweeted about Pratt's new job Tuesday, explaining that her 21-year-old brother works every morning at a golf course from 6-10 a.m. before running packages at UPS for up to eight hours per day.
"Thank you @UPS for giving my brother a chance & promoting inclusion in the workforce. Jake has Down Syndrome but that doesn’t stop him!" she wrote beside a photo of Pratt standing next to a UPS truck in his work uniform. "I’m so proud of him!"
Speaking to PEOPLE, Hyde adds, "This opportunity to work for UPS means everything to Jake because it is his dream to be able to live independently. He has achieved so much, but none of it would be possible without people embracing him and giving him a chance."
"Jake is so worthy and capable, so it’s just awesome for others to be able to see that," she continues. "He has done a lot to break barriers and raise awareness that people with Down syndrome can accomplish anything they set their mind to."
During Pratt's childhood in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, his Down syndrome diagnosis came as "a surprise" to the family and a doctor said Jake "would never be a functional member of society," Hyde recalls.
"[The doctor] said that his impairment would keep him from living any sort of normal life and he might even need to be institutionalized," she says.
Pratt and his family refused to listen.
"My family has always embraced the philosophy that Jake is no different from you or I and that there are no limits on what he can accomplish," Hyde shares of her "loving, confident, funny and hardworking" brother.
Over the years, Pratt has continued to break down barriers while leaving his mark on all those he encounters.
"He wanted to be on the high school football team when some people thought that was impossible, but he did it," she says. "He wanted to score a touchdown in a game, and he did. He wanted to go to college, and he did. He wanted to get his driver's permit, and he scored a perfect 100 on the exam."
"He never meets a stranger and loves everyone so purely," Hyde adds of her brother, who graduated from Clemson University's LIFE program in the spring. "He makes all of our lives better and has taught me more than anyone else I know."
Pratt new gig was celebrated by his family, as well as his new employer. In response to Hyde's tweet, UPS wrote, "We are proud to have Jake on our team! Keep up the great work, Jake!"
"Welcome to the UPS family, Jake! We're lucky to have you on the team," they added in a separate tweet.
Because Pratt is "very good" at making his dreams a reality, Hyde says she looks forward to seeing what her brother will accomplish in the future.
"One of his greatest passions is sports, so one day, he hopes to find a job being involved with a team or possibly in the maintenance of their facilities," she explains. "His next goals are to get his driver's license and continue to save up money for his future."
"He has pretty big plans when it comes to his girlfriend, Grace," Hyde notes. "Grace also has Down syndrome and is a current student at Auburn University in its EAGLES program. Closer to Grace's graduation, Jake plans to propose. He puts money aside for Grace’s future ring with every paycheck."
"I have zero doubts that he won't be able to continue to live out his dreams," the proud sister adds.
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