BEACHWOOD, Ohio — If you've ever walked the halls of Menorah Park Senior Living Center in Beachwood, chances are you've been greeted by Barry Henkin.
"I love my job," said Henkin. "I like making people happy and people feel welcome."
It's that friendly, outgoing personality that has dubbed him the unofficial 'mayor' of Menorah Park.
"There are days that I don't know if I work for him, or he works for me and that's OK!" laughs Menorah Park CEO Jim Newbrough.
Henkin's official job is to assist residents going to and from physical therapy, but there isn't a task that he won't happily do.
"If you look at the heart of this community, what really makes Menorah Park special, he's at the core," said Newbrough.
Part-time gardener, greeter and full-time spreader of joy to everyone he meets.
"I always have a positive attitude," Henkin said. "I always smile. I'm always happy to see (the residents). Give them a hug, make them feel good and say, 'I'm glad to see you today. I hope you have a nice day.'"
Born with Asperger syndrome, Henkin doesn't let his challenges define who he is.
"I look at myself as a human being like you and me. I tell people to look at me for who I am. Don’t judge me for the way I wear my clothes or the way I look, but look at me as Barry Henkin.”
Instead, he defines himself by how he chooses to live.
“If you talk to Barry about it, what he will really say is everybody has challenges," Newbrough said. "He has his set of challenges. Everybody else has their set of challenges. You just keep overcoming."
Overcoming challenges and spreading happiness, no matter the circumstances.
“Just be happy," Henkin said. "Have a positive attitude. When you wake up each morning say to yourself, 'I'm gonna have a good day. I'm gonna do my best, look my best and do the best I can.'"