Tampa Bay man works through disability - FOX 13 News

Tampa Bay man works through disability

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

LaJarvis Smiley always works hard and does it with a face that defines him.

"Well that's my last name so I always smile," LaJarvis said with, as expected, a big smile.

But, seriously, LaJarvis has two disabilities: Hydrocephalus, commonly known as "water on the brain", and Steven Johnson Syndrome, a potentially deadly skin disease. Neither has stopped him from being independent.

LaJarvis thought he'd never find a job-- but he did. He's employed at the Hilton Hotel, working in the laundry room.

"I just don't want to sit at home," LaJarvis said.

Trying to get the disabled hired is a daunting task. Christy Boccabella Brown works with adults with disabilities.

"Employers typically label somebody and we ask those employers to think beyond the label to look at disability as not a disability but rather look at it as capabilities," she explained.

Bob Haber is Director of Human Services at Hilton Hotel. He took a chance on LaJarvis and is glad he did.

"He has one of those qualities that every employer looks for in any employee, and that's a great attitude."

"Strong determination and a big smile can carry you a long way," LaJarvis said.

"If you put your mind to it, basically, you can do it. Don't put your mind to it you will never be nothing."

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