Little Something Extra Bakery in Oak Lawn, Illinois, comes by its name honestly. Maria and Bill Veal say their son Billy’s extra chromosomes inspired not only the name, but the bakery itself, which employs Billy and three other people who are differently abled, including Billy’s best friend, Angel.
With art on the walls created by students at Oak Lawn Community High School reminding guests that happiness begins wherever you happen to be, the bakery has given Billy the opportunity to take on more responsibilities, and to try his hand at different tasks—including everything from preparing dough and greeting customers to bussing tables and mopping and sweeping.
Billy graduated from Harold L. Richards High School in May, and says a few of the highlights included going to state and winning the gold medal in Special Olympics basketball, and being named Honorary Captain of the football team. Billy’s early school years were difficult since he attended several different schools in five years because the facilities for Billy’s group kept changing. Billy remembers the most difficult part was, “getting yelled at.”
Now in the transition program, Billy also works at both DoubleTree and at Taylor Candies. He says he enjoys “working with friends” at the DoubleTree, where he folds towels and does the laundry.
Here’s the rest of Sam’s interview with Billy, who was known as the “Mayor” of his junior high, and now brings his empathetic, friendly spirit to work every day at Little Something Extra Bakery and Café:
What do you like to do in your free time? “Watch superhero movies. Play basketball and volleyball. Track and bowling. Play video games.”
What makes you happiest? “He came back—having my Dad back makes me happy.”
What are your dreams/goals for the future? “I want to work. I also want to jump out of an airplane with a parachute. I want to go back to Florida.”
What are some of your favorite memories? “Parasailing on the boat in Florida. I liked going down. Graduating from high school. Bowling, when I beat Dad, and going to the Blackhawks game.”
What were your favorite things about Thanksgiving? “Turkey, ham, cornbread, stuffing, ice cream, and cookies. And Uncle Tito because he’s funny.”
Who is your hero and why? “Steph Curry, because he’s good at three pointers. And LeBron James. And my Dad.”
We so enjoyed our visit to the Little Something Extra Bakery (Billy’s Breakfast Sandwich was a favorite for Sam, too), and we are wishing Billy, Maria, and Bill huge success with this new venture. As Billy says, “Bring some money!”