How a Family Car Wash Has Changed the Lives of People With Autism

A Florida car wash wants to change the way you think about people with autism.

Then, his father, a veteran entrepreneur, and older brother, who had recently finished business school, had an idea: What if they opened business employed mostly by people with autism?

"We wanted to build ... an example big and bold and out there that other companies could go ahead and want to emulate," Andrew's brother Tom D'Eri, 25, told ABC News, adding that they wanted to find a business that would educate the community by putting autistic employees in front of the customers.

It was Andrew's first job, and though he didn't like it at first, D'Eri said he started noticing positive changes three weeks later. Andrew, 24, had issues with empathy and trying new things in the past, but when his father offered him a bite of a new food -- his father's chicken and portobello mushroom sandwich -- he tried it and then courteously asked to split it when his dad offered him the whole sandwich.

"Typically, that wouldn't happen," Tom D'Eri said, adding that Andrew also helped people with bags on a plane for the first time after starting work. "There were noticeable differences in his behavior. He was willing to try new things, wanting to empathize more. These are things any family with an autistic child will say, those are really rare things."

And since many autistic people are bullied in high school, he said working at the car wash helped them build confidence.

"They come to us with very little purpose and very little hope for their future," D'Eri said in the video. "But once they start working with us they start getting positive reinforcement of doing a good job, a customer being happy, getting a tip, that really starts to open them up."