Man with autism's heartfelt, handwritten LinkedIn cover letter earns thousands of connections
via Ryan Lowery / LinkedIn

Some say that cover letters aren't as important these days as they once were. But maybe it's because people have forgotten how to write one that's effective?

Ryan Lowery, a 20-year-old with autism, wrote a vulnerable, heartfelt cover letter earlier this month, posted it to LinkedIn and it's gone viral, attracting over seven million views. The unique thing about the letter is that it's completely hand-written.

It appears as though someone photographed the letter and posted it to the networking site.

The letter has attracted a lot of attention because it's a simple plea for someone out there to give this guy a shot. He's on the autism spectrum so he has some unique quirks, but that doesn't mean he can't excel, especially given his strengths.



Ryan Lowry on LinkedIn: Please see my letter to future employers. www.linkedin.com

Lowery addressed the letter to his "future employer" and stressed that he has a "unique sense of humor" and is "good at math."

"I am interested in a job in animation, or in IT," Lowry wrote. "I realize that someone like you will have to take a chance on me, I don't learn like typical people do. I would need a mentor to teach me, but I learn quickly, [and] once you explain it, I get it."

"I promise that if you hire me and teach me, you'll be glad that you did," he pledged. "I will show up every day, do what you tell me to do and work really hard. Please let me know if you would like to talk about this with me. Thank you."

The letter was a huge success, earning him over 2,000 new connections. His inbox quickly filled with interested replies from professionals in the worlds of IT and animation. The letter has also inspired countless LinkedIn users on the autism spectrum and their families to share messages of support.

He has also received calls from companies with neurodiversity recruitment programs such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Dell. Lowery is also talking with Exceptional Minds, a post-production studio in Los Angeles for people with autism.

"Ryan is capable of so much," his father Rob, who also helped him set up his LinkedIn profile, told Today. "The goal here for Ryan is independence. He can live in our basement for the rest of his life. We'd love it. But Tracy and I are going to die someday, and he needs to be able to live independently. We're cautiously optimistic."

"My hope was that he'd make a few connections," Rob said. "I thought, all we need is one person."

The response has also been a ray of hope for his mother, Tracy.

"I lay in bed at night and I cry reading the messages," she told Today. "This raw, vulnerable letter has opened up so many opportunities."

The response to Ryan's letter shows that even though the professional world can seem uncaring at times, there are a lot of people out there who want to help. Sometimes all you got to do is put your best foot forward and ask.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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