WASHINGTON, Mo. — For some people in Washington, Missouri, the day begins with the perfect blend.
Welcome to the Cocoa Cafe, where they put the 'good' in good morning.
"We sell pastries, coffee and iced coffee to anyone who shows up," explained Noah Thompson, one of the workers.
But this Cafe's secret ingredient isn't what they're serving but who's serving it.
"They're hard workers, they're eager to please. They are happy, like all the time," said supervisor Judy Obermark.
Don't look for reviews on Yelp because the Cocoa Cafe is actually inside Washington High School. The customers are students and teachers and the workers are all in the Special Education Department.
"Somebody on the Autism spectrum, to Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy," explained Obermark who is a Special Education teacher.
The Cafe opened more than 10 years ago as a way of turning disabilities into possibilities.
"Our kids don't really get a lot of opportunity to get a job experience before they leave high school. They can actually count this as a job experience," said teacher's assistant Bonnie Rademacher.
Every student has a job, from toasting bagels to taking orders. Steven Dotsonsaur, 16, said when the lines are long, it can get pretty stressful.
But at the end of his shift, if the customer is satisfied, he's not the only one.
"The best thing about working in the cafe is that I can tell people I'm going to work every morning," said Dotsonsaur proudly.
The money they raise here at the Cocoa Cafe is to fund field trips for students to get out in the community and practice the social skills they learn here.
"Sometimes it takes them a lot longer to learn a skill and when they do it really well that smile really comes out and when you see it, it's really neat," added Rademacher.
And learning new skills can often lead to having new dreams for the future.
Noah wants to run his own cafe.
Employers take note. If you care about loyalty and hard work, here's a place with a recipe for success.
"They bring a lot just by coming in and being so positive," said Obermark.
The Cocoa Cafe. Serving up kindness and opportunity.