Car-Obsessed Special Needs Teen Lands Dream Gig At Car Dealership

Illustration for article titled Car-Obsessed Special Needs Teen Lands Dream Gig At Car Dealership

Jake Nelson is like all of us; he loves cars. He has been diagnosed with a "moderate mental retardation" which, according to doctors, means no reading, no writing and no driving. But that didn't stop a local dealership from stepping in and making Jake a part of their team. reports that Jake's parents, Nancy and Randy Nelson would regularly drive him around to car lots so he can see his favorite makes and models up close. He has been to practically every brand and seen almost every new car for sale. Then one day Jake stopped by a local Ford dealer who took is love for cars and it turned into something special.


Matt Luken of Apple Ford Lincoln didn't just talk to Jake when he came by for a visit, he introduced the teen to the rest of the sales staff. A year later is a regular fixture at the dealership making sure the vehicles are secure and everything looks just right.

Rain or shine Jake patrols the lot checking for unlocked doors, folded mirrors, or wheels that aren't lined up correctly. Due to his condition he has trouble expressing his thoughts, but he will point to something and say, "Not right." Then one of the sales staff would quickly follow Jake's lead. The folks at the dealership from the sales floor all the way up to management say he has become "part of the family."

"Nobody has treated him like they have here...They make him feel important. They make him feel needed, and who doesn't want that for their son." - Nancy Nelson

If you have a question, a tip, or something you would like to to share about car-buying, drop me a line at and be sure to include your Kinja handle.

Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`


As a parent of a child with special needs, this is just plain rad. I could go into a whole lotta detail and emotional insight, or ramble about struggles and challenges, but I won't.

Thank you Apple Ford Lincoln.