Jason Morency zips around the room refilling napkin holders in his section, occasionally stopping at a table to share one of his signature jokes. It’s around 3 p.m. on a gray January day, and he is in the middle of his shift at Xavier University’s dining hall, where he works about 30 hours a week.
Morency, who has tuberous sclerosis, has been there for six years but began working on the college campus in 2011, as part of Project Search, a job-training program for young adults with disabilities. His first job was delivering mail and he held other positions before switching to the dining hall.
“When I found out I was going to be hired, I was excited and speechless,” he said. “I’m very particular and like to make things organized and look neat.”
In addition to filling napkin holders, Morency tops off salt and pepper shakers, wipes down tables and sweeps floors in his sections. Sometimes he also helps co-workers by filling condiments or restocking bread, fruit and other food.
“We’re all about teamwork, and Jason is fast and efficient and good at what he does,” said Denise Harston, who also works in the dining hall. “He always talks to people, jokes with students and is very helpful. We all love him—he’s part of the family.”
Interactions with students and welcoming colleagues are his favorite part of the job. “I feel lucky and fortunate for my schedule and the people I work with,” he said. “It’s fun and can be stressful at times, but that makes you think of the positive parts of the job because there are so many nice people.”
His mom, Sue, said her son enjoys working in the dining hall and got to know a lot of the staff while he was delivering mail. “He’s always thrived when he’s around people,” she said. “He has a wonderful boss who is accepting and understanding, and does a fantastic job of making sure Jason is where he fits best.”
Morency, 27, moved into his own condo in August 2016 , where he continues to collect tabs for the local Ronald McDonald House. It’s a hobby he began when he was 8 years old and has donated more than 2,500 pounds of tabs, which helps fund the organization’s programs. When not working, he’s also active in the Special Olympics, playing soccer, basketball and other sports.