The coronavirus pandemic has had a debilitating effect on the American public. But despite the myriad of problems the virus has caused, there are still Americans working to make this country a better place. I recently got to chat with Sammy Wilson, AKA NASCAR Sammy, who is one of the people looking to make a difference.
Sammy, an 18-year-old self-described “NASCAR superfan,” is building a movement designed to promote autism awareness in the NASCAR community. The young man has already made an impression among fans of the sport and has even met some of the drivers, including his favorite, Kyle Busch.
The young man is launching a tour this month to spread his message about autism awareness to NASCAR race tracks in multiple states. “The concept of this tour is to focus on some of the positive traits of autism and things that we can do during the pandemic. We’ll be going to seven NASCAR tracks in seven days and putting up autism awareness signs in different locations,” he explained. “I’ll also be having daily giveaways on Twitter and will focus on the positive traits of autism. And we’ll be putting our positive experiences on social media every day.”
Wilson decided to go on the tour when he won a brand spanking new Camping World RV given to him by Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World after Sammy won a contest. But what good is a camper if you have no wheels? This is where NASCAR driver Kyle Busch comes in. He also had a surprise for the young man: A new Toyota 4-runner that he procured for the youngster through his partnership with the motor vehicle company.
Hey @NASCARSammy, I saw @marcuslemonis hooked u up with a camper. Well, I wanted to help u spread your message about Autism Awareness and I have some connections @toyotaracing to help tow your camper. pic.twitter.com/Dx4Uo9yXoV
— Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) September 2, 2020
Wilson, who is also on the autism spectrum, indicated that part of his mission is to help people understand what autism is and educate others on the condition’s positive aspects. When asked about the misconceptions many have about those dealing with autism, he responded:
“The biggest misconception that people think all autistic people are the same. In reality, we’re all different. It’s a spectrum. Some autistic people are nonverbal; some talk a lot. Autistic people tend to have a whole range of sensory issues. Some have issues with loud noises, bright lights, odors, food sensitivities, etc. Some have no sensory issues at all. Another thing is that a lot of people perceive autistic people as having a lack of empathy. But in reality, it could be that they just have a hard time expressing their emotions the same way a non-autistic person would.”
On his website, NASCAR Sammy offers decals in exchange for $7.50 donations, which help him continue his work. While races cannot currently be held due to the coronavirus pandemic, he is still traveling from track to track to get the word out about autism to his fellow NASCAR fans, and when the sport is back in season, he will continue his work.
From my conversation with NASCAR Sammy, I could tell he is an individual who exemplifies the American spirit. It would have been easy to put his advocacy work on hold until the pandemic abated. But he didn’t. Instead, he decided to find other ways to pursue his mission to spread autism awareness.
Check out the interview in which Sammy gives more insight into autism and the work he is doing. If you wish to donate, you can do so here on his website. You can follow him on Twitter: @NASCARSammy
Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Follow me on Twitter: @JeffOnTheRight