D'Eri, whose son is autistic, said he didn't want to let his son Andrew become part of that statistic — so he started a car wash business for him and others with autism to find paid work and a purpose.
"I want him to have a life," D'Eri told NationSwell in a video. "I want him to have a job. I want him to have friends that are like him."
Of the 43 employees at Rising Tide car wash in Parkland, Florida, 35 of them are on the autism spectrum.
"Typically people with autism are really good at structured tasks, following processes, attention to detail," Tom D'Eri, Andrew's brother and COO of Rising Tide, told NationSwell.
"They come to us with very little purpose and very little hope for their future," Tom D'Eri said of the car wash's employees. "But once they start working with us and they start to get the positive reinforcement of, you know, doing a good job, customer being happy, them getting a tip, that really starts to open them up."
"We wanted to try to identify a consumer business that could educate the broad community around how capable people with autism really are," he said.