KNX Hero creates work opportunity for special needs community

A special coffee company based in Ontario is creating an incredible workplace for its extraordinary employees. It’s run by our KNX Helpful Honda Hero of the Week!

Finding a place to work can be hard for someone with special needs. That's where Special Needz Coffee steps in!

"A lot of our kids are really amazing!" boasts owner and co-founder, Larry Humphreys. "They are just looking for something to be a part of. And, have a team of individuals support them. Everyone loves coffee! And, if we were able to pair coffee with understanding mental health, to break the stigma, we thought it would be great for our society."

Special Needz Coffee hires people between the ages of 17 and 28, who are looking for work after finishing school.

Owner of Special Needz Coffee
Photo credit Larry Humphreys

Larry's wife, Mia Humphreys, says jobs for adults with autism or learning disabilities are often ones that are pushed to the back office. And, there's not many to choose from. But at Special Needz Coffee, employees can work in every department.

"They do the stocking," explains Mia, "they do the packaging, and they grind the coffee. They then go and sell. And we [also] have the event staff."

"They are able to go out and utilize the POS system, and get change," adds Larry. Workers also get continual communication and social interaction.

Special Needz Coffee recently turned a trolley into a mobile coffee house, and the team travels to events and pop-up sites all over Southern California.

Photo credit Larry Humphreys

Jahen Tostado has a son who is autistic. When he and his wife discovered Special Needz Coffee, they invited them to stop at Jahen's job, at BMW of Ontario. He says he appreciates what the company offers to families living with autism. "It means a lot, as a parent, to see that our kids have an opportunity to have a job on their own," says Jahen. "To be independent, it’s all you can ask for."

Customers also get a chance to learn about the different conditions. Each drink has a special name, like "schizophrenia" or "iced bipolar latte." A QR code on the back directs customers to information.

"We can help our community have a good coffee, have good people that are positive, that are hard-working - and be able to change the stigma of what people with special needs may be!" Larry declares.

Larry Humphreys has worked with special needs, mental health and behavioral therapy for over 30 years. He is our KNX Hero of the Week, and he's making a big difference in Southern California!

KNX Heroes is brought to you by California Resources Corporation, saluting our military veterans, and all of our heroes! Go to for more information.

Go to to get connected with Larry, Mia, and the team at Special Needz Coffee.

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Have a KNX Hero in your life? Go online to to submit your personal hero for consideration.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Larry Humphreys