Gabriel Homes resident at work at Giant.

Loved by Family and Friends

One Gabriel Homes resident, Rich, has been friends with Amy, a Fairfax County resident, for over 15 years. Rich often comes over to see Amy and is usually greeted by her extended family. From Amy to her children to her mother, Rich is a popular face across the household.

Gabriel Homes had the chance to speak with Amy about her friendship with Rich. Here’s what she had to say:

Gabriel Homes resident on the phone.

How did you two become friends?

“Rich was the cart returner at the Giant I shopped at. We struck up a conversation every time I was there, and he helped me unload groceries in my car. He was eager to communicate with people and made himself open.

“Often, I talk about my extended family with Rich. He knows many of them by coming over or having dinners with us. He usually asks how everyone is doing and kindly asks if I want him to pray for anybody. His concern is a testament to how much love he has for everybody.”

Gabriel Homes residents at a song session.

What do you like to do together?

“We talk about football a lot. Rich is a Cleveland Browns fan, and he can quickly list all the coaches and players and how each of them is doing. Browns games are hard to get on cable since we live in Virginia, but I always invite him over when we see them playing.

“Outside work, I sometimes pick Rich up from his shifts, and we go out to dinner. His favorite order is a cheeseburger. I care about Rich being confident in ordering what he wants, so we always tell the server what we want separately.”

Gabriel Homes residents hugging.

What advice do you have for the community about befriending adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD)?

I have a background in special education, so I’m comfortable with different populations since I’ve worked with them. When Rich started coming over to our house, my kids still lived with me. For them, it was  like having their friends over. Everyone was comfortable with Rich from the start.

Ultimately, you should always give yourself opportunities to engage with adults with IDD. When you share a little about yourself, you get a lot of joy coming back to you. My relationship with Rich goes two ways, and we benefit equally from it. He's just a joy to have in our lives.

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