WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE — In honor of Autism Awareness month, the Gordon CDJR team is sharing the story of their beloved employee, Seth Coulter.
The inspiring story of Seth Coulter began in a Washington Court House Save-a-Lot, where the 25 year-old was scouted by the new owner of a local Washington Court House car dealership, Gordon CDJR — Bridget Reinberger-Ruehl. According to Ruehl, it didn’t take long for her to notice that Coulter was a one-in-a-million type of worker who was intelligent, kind and eager, which was exactly what she was looking for in all her employees.
“My employees matter the most to me,” said Ruehl, “and what I do not underestimate is the power of a rock solid team who I can trust will value the customers.”
Ruehl spoke with Coulter about his interest in vehicles, and soon Coulter was offered a position in Automotive Detailing at Gordon CDJR, located on Clinton Avenue.
According to Ruehl and other staff members, after Coulter joined Gordon CDJR in August of 2022, he quickly became one of their biggest assets. Ruehl spoke about how highly the other workers though of Coulter, and how impressive it was that he could adapt so easily.
Service manager of Gordon CDJR, Bill Hall, said, “It didn’t take long for me and my team to realize that Seth was a special kid. He had an eagerness to learn, accompanied by a huge heart to please others.”
According to both Ruehl and Hall, Coulter was determined to succeed in his new position. However, there was only one thing prohibiting the eager 25 year-old from achieving his desire to thrive at Gordon CDJR, and that was that he did not have a driver’s license. This setback kept Coulter from being able to operate vehicles during his shifts.
Coulter expressed that he had always dreamed of owning vehicles and being able to drive them, but he was told that because of his “disability,” he would never be able to own a driver’s license.
However, Ruehl was determined to give Coulter every opportunity he deserved to accomplish his dreams.
The new owner, feeling more inspired than ever, contacted Pam and Thomas Goines, the owners of an organization called Safe Encounters, and founders of New Horizon Center for Autism (2008). Ruehl knew the couple from her home church, Citygate in Lebanon, where she had first heard about Safe Encounters.
According to Ruehl, Pam and Thomas Goines initially started the organization during the process of raising their now 26-year-old autistic son, and have been an asset to the community ever since.
The Safe Encounters organization was created to help spread autism awareness through community leaders like first responders, police officers, and firefighters, by giving them courses prepared to enable a better understanding of what it’s like to have characteristics of autism and how to respond accordingly.
Ruehl explained Coulter’s situation to the couple during a meeting, which Ruehl held in hopes of convincing the couple to start a branch off of the organization that will help adults with autism achieve their independence with proper driving skills through individual lessons, coaching and hands-on learning.
After the Goines family decided to start a vehicular operations branch for challenged drivers, Gordon CDJR was quick to sponsor Coulter for “training purposes.” According to Ruehl, it only took six months for Safe Encounters to coach Coulter’s driving skills, as the training was more than sufficient.
Now, after only six months of individual coaching, Coulter is set to take his driver’s test to acquire a license.
Ruehl was was excited to announce that everyone at Gordon CDJR is saving up to buy Coulter his own vehicle to drive after eventually acquiring his license.
When asked why the whole company decided to pitch in, Ruehl smiled and said, “Seth is like family to us.”