LEBANON, Tenn. (WTVF) — Like most 20-year-old's, Ashton Gilbert is enjoying some newfound independence.
“He’s learning how to manage money and pay bills,” said his mother, Ashley York. He’s living on his own and even started his own business.
But for Gilbert being an entrepreneur didn’t come easy. “The job opportunities for those with unique differences is very challenging and COVID really put a damper on that,” said York.
Gilbert has autism, but he was still ready to get to work.
“I own a small business and had way too many boxes that had to be carted off,” said York. That’s when UnBoxed was born.
“We have people ask for us to pick up boxes and stuff and then we go to their houses, either break them down or they’ve already been broken down,” said Gilbert.
With his mom behind the wheel, Ashton picks up people’s boxes and delivers them to the local recycling center.
“The community has just really wrapped their arms around him and been excited about his business venture and it’s expanding pretty quick,” said York.
Now he has about 15 residential and business clients who pay Gilbert to haul away and recycle their cardboard.
York said, “I think long-term I could see it being an opportunity for other young adults with differences to have a chance at employment.”
Gilbert hopes his story of independence will inspire others with disabilities to unbox their potential too.