My name is John Cronin. I have Down syndrome. Last November, I started a new business with my Dad. It is called John’s Crazy Socks and we sell socks online. I love having my own business and I love working with my Dad. I want to share my story so that people can learn about John’s Crazy Socks and other people can see what someone with Down syndrome can do.
I love hearing my Dad tell the story of when I was born and he held me in his arms and cried because he was so happy. I don’t remember any of this, but I was sick when I was born. I had two operations. Doctors fixed my intestine when I was only two days old. And before I was three months old, I had heart surgery because I had a hole in my heart. A lot of people with Down syndrome are born with heart problems, but good doctors can repair those hearts. My Mom and Dad have pictures when I was just a tiny, tiny baby, but now I am big, strong and healthy.
I have my own business now, but I spent a lot of time in school learning so I could start my business. I went to pre-school at ACDS. I remember riding the bus to school and have pictures from when I was playing in that school. They helped me get started. After pre-school, I went to the Huntington Schools. I have had many really good teachers there who helped me a lot. They were very special to me. When I was a little kid, I had an aide who would help me in school. I liked my aides, but I wanted to show them that I would do things on my own so then I didn’t need an aide. I also took the big bus to school like everyone else so I didn’t need to ride on the little bus.
My favorite subject is math, but I like all my classes. I studied life skills with Dr. Murphy-Jessen, though I also got to take chorus, photography and fashion. Ms. Klee has been my speech teacher and she is always helping me. I keep working on my speech because in my business I meet with so many people and speak to big groups. During the last three years, I spent half my day at Huntington High School and half my day at Wilson Tech. This year, I am studying retailing at Wilson Tech. Two days a week, I go into the community and work at stores. I work at Bob’s and Marshalls. And we run the snack shop at Wilson Tech.
I have two big brothers and they played a lot of sports and even played football in college. I wanted to be like them so I play a lot of sports in the Special Olympics. I love the Special Olympics. I play soccer, basketball, floor hockey, track, bowling and snowshoe. I go to practices and we train for the big games and matches. I love going to the State Games. I take the bus with the team and stay in a hotel with the team. I can do that because I am independent and can do things on my own. I have a lot of great coaches in Special Olympics like Coach Mike and Coach Murray in soccer, and Coach Joe and my brothers and Dad who help coach. My favorite coach is Linda Roth who is my snowshoe coach. She is a tough woman, but lots of fun and she gets us to run hard. We train on the beach in the summer when there is no snow and get in shape for our races in the winter.
My brothers Patrick and Jamie have always helped me and my Dad and Mom love me and teach me all the time. They help me do things on my own. I like to be independent and show people what I can do. I have my own room and I take care of that. I bring my laundry to the laundromat. I can make my own food. When we go out, I order my own food and I pay for things. I can walk into town on my own because my parents trust me and I like to do things like everybody else.
I had my first job in a law office for my parents. I would help with the shredding and go to the Post Office. I first went to the Post Office with my Dad and he showed me what to do. Then I went by myself. Two years ago, my parents gave me a contract. I had my responsibilities and I did them every day. I did the shredding and went to the Post Office and cleaned up outside and took care of the recycling. I also did errands like bring checks to people and pick up things at the store. I loved having a job and earning money to pay for things on my own. Last summer, I got a job working in the kitchen at Camp Alvernia. I went to Camp Alvernia when I was a little kid and was happy to go back and work there. I helped put drinks in the refrigerator and get food ready to cook and I cleaned up after the lunches.
Because I turned 21, this is my last year in school. I loved going to school and seeing my teachers and my friends, but I want to be a grown up. I was thinking of a lot of different things after leaving school, but I wanted to go into business with my Dad. Last November, we were talking about my socks because I always liked to wear fun socks. I said we should sell socks and he agreed. That’s how we can up with the idea of John’s Crazy Socks. We wanted to do something fast so we could see if the store would work. I helped pick out socks and my Dad built the website and helped organize the company. We made a Facebook page and I made videos for Facebook. We discussed all the plans and worked hard to make our business a success. We opened our store on Friday, December 9, 2016. And wow, people loved what we did. We sold so many socks that we ran out of socks that weekend. We sent our socks all around the country, though I made home deliveries in the town where I live, Huntington, NY. I loved making the home deliveries and meeting customers and seeing them smile.
Because I love the Special Olympics so much, we decided to give to the Special Olympics. So we give 5 percent of everything we make to the Special Olympics. Since I have Down syndrome, I wanted to do a Down syndrome sock. My Dad and I designed this sock and we give money from it to my old school, ACDS, and to the National Down Syndrome Society. I have a lot of friends with autism, so I wanted to do an autism sock too. So now we have an Autism Awareness Sock and we give money to charity from that sock.
My Dad says I am the face of the business. My face is on the logo. I make videos about our sock store. I meet with the sock makers and help pick out socks. I meet with customers and speak to community groups. I like to give my business card to people and tell them to buy my socks.
Every day I work in my business. I help get the socks to put in orders. I write thank you cards that we put into every package. I help put together the cards and candy that we put in our packages. I bring our packages to the Post Office every day. My Dad jokes that I look like Santa Claus carrying a bag of goodies. And I make local deliveries.
We are growing our business. We have hired people to work with us and some of my classmates from school who have autism work with me now. I keep picking out new socks and we have more socks to sell in our store. We hope to have the world’s largest sock store someday. I also hope to be on the Ellen Show to talk about my business.
I hope you enjoyed reading my story. I get to do a lot and I love running my own business. I could not do it on my own. I got help from my family and my teachers, but I am able to work in my business and show that people with Down Syndrome can work and do many things