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"I realize that someone like you will have to take a chance on me, I don't learn like typical people do," Ryan Lowry wrote in the letter that went viral on LinkedIn

By Jason Duaine Hahn
March 17, 2021 05:28 PM
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Ryan Lowry
Credit: Rob and Tracy Lowry

After deciding he'd like to pursue a career in animation, 20-year-old Ryan Lowry penned a heartfelt message to his "future employer" that described his talents and passions, while also noting that he has autism.

Ryan, who recently celebrated his birthday, posted the handwritten letter to LinkedIn. In it, he described his gift of mathematics, his sense of humor, and his go-getter attitude that made him ready to learn anything he needs to succeed.

"I realize that someone like you will have to take a chance on me, I don't learn like typical people do," he wrote, in part. "I would need a mentor to teach me, but I learn quickly, once you explain it, I get it. I promise that if you hire me and teach me, you'll be glad that you did."

"I will show up every day, do what you tell me to do, and work really hard," he added.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in 54 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Symptoms vary from person to person, but people with ASD often have difficulties with social, emotional and communication skills. Many others experience different ways of learning, reacting or paying attention to things.

Ryan's post quickly went viral on the social platform, receiving more than 176,000 reactions and nearly 6,000 comments, with many people offering career advice or mentorship opportunities.

Ryan Lowry
Credit: Rob and Tracy Lowry

For Ryan, and his parents Tracy and Rob Lowry, the way the letter has resonated with so many people has been something out of their wildest dreams.

"We had never thought this was going to happen and we were overwhelmed with the number of people with stories like Ryan's story, which is a really beautiful part of what's happening as well," Tracy tells PEOPLE. "We lay in bed at night and I cry reading stories of other people."

Ryan's autism affects his social communication, but Rob says he knows his son thinks the flurry of attention has been "pretty cool."

"Almost all of [the response] has been encouraging, supportive," he says. "One unintended consequence is that we hear from so many families that have similar circumstances to ours who are expressing their gratitude for Ryan's courage to speak out and learn more."

Ryan Lowry
Credit: Rob and Tracy Lowry

Rob says Ryan has received many job offers since his message went viral, but the family is taking their time to sort through the messages and comments they have received.

Today, Ryan is part of a program in his public school district in Virginia that allows him to learn on-the-job training. He currently works as a barista at a local coffee shop.

The couple — who also have two other children — isn't quite sure what the future has in store, but they said they're inspired to keep the momentum going for Ryan and to help others going through the same experiences.

"Our mission, for however long this thing goes on, whether it's 15 minutes of fame or longer, is to make something good happen for Ryan, who deserves it and has earned it," Rob says. "I think whoever gets him will win big time, but to also help the other families who are just like us and then finally to help out the organizations that had helped them along the way."

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But as of today, the outreach from the community has already made an impact on the family.

"It restores your faith in humanity a little bit after all the crap we've all had to deal with in the last year or two," Rob says. "So it's been uplifting to say the least and gives us a lot of hope that he can get to a place that we want him to be, and he wants to be."