Rockettes’ Pick for Dancer of the Week: Dancing Barista

Who: Sam the dancing Starbucks barista

His dance:

Why we chose him: Meet 17-year-old Sam: a Toronto-area Starbucks barista (known as the dancing barista in his town!) who was diagnosed with autism, a general term for a group of complex disorders of brain development. Like some people with autism, Sam has a movement disorder that sometimes causes his body to move without his control. But he doesn’t let that keep him from whipping up delicious drinks.

Instead, when an involuntary movement strikes, he just channels his inner Rockette and turns those movements into moves—dance moves, that is!

“Starbucks has a routine called repeatable routines and they’re specific steps that you need to do to make beverages,” Starbucks manager Chris tells Toronto’s CTV News. “If you saw in the YouTube video, Sam is using those routines but using dance to balance, to focus, to make sure that he’s making the drinks correctly.”

Now that Sam has become an Internet sensation, he wants to use the spotlight to help others with autism. “The real star of this video is my story because my story is inspiring so many parents of children who have autism,” Sam said. “It’s inspiring them so much and it’s telling them their son or daughter with autism can thrive and succeed in society even though society can be jerks to us special needs people.”

Sam, thank you for inspiring us … and keep on dancing your way into the hearts of others!

Fun fact: When Sam was offered the job at Starbucks, he told his parents that for the first time, “his life had real meaning.”

Rockette kicks (on a scale of 10 to 10!): Apple's Woman With Bunny EarsApple's Woman With Bunny EarsApple's Woman With Bunny EarsApple's Woman With Bunny EarsApple's Woman With Bunny Ears