Garrison’s journey


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A local man has racked up over 1,100 miles and counting on his bicycle this year, using it as his primary source of transportation.

While that’s no small feat, that isn’t the only reason people are saying Garrison Mulder is inspiring them.

Meet Garrison Mulder, a 19-year-old man with high functioning autism– or in his words, a hard worker with a sense of humor.

Mulder is an employee at Burger King in Sioux Falls. He’s going on two years of working at the burger joint. But before he can clock in at BK, he puts in work on his bicycle to get to there.

“Get some fresh air and exercise,” Mulder said.

Mulder rides about 12 miles in total going to and from work. And depending on the day, he says that number rises if he’s riding just for fun.

“When it’s nice out or just plain cloudy, because here in South Dakota we don’t know what the weather will do,” Mulder said.

Once his bike is parked, Mulder gets going in a variety of jobs during his shift– but restaurant manager Michelle Michaeli says his favorite job is dealing with numbers.

“He doesn’t understand how people don’t understand how to count change back because he’s such a numbers guy,” Michaeli said.

Mulder recently finished up summer classes at Southeast Tech for an accounting degree. But pursuing a degree while working isn’t all he has to be proud of, he was also named employee of the year in 2018.

“So, for some reason I think I usually do say yes when they ask me to come in when I’m in town, and then I’ll come and then do the best I can,” Mulder said.

“He’s customer oriented, he’s up front dealing with the people, he’s in the back doing whatever he has to do. Just his dedication and everything that he has is just amazing,” Michaeli said.

And even when the weather isn’t cooperating enough for Garrison to take his bike to work, Michelle says he doesn’t miss a shift.

“If he doesn’t ride his bike he takes Lyft. So that’s the crazy thing, is that when you have team members that call and say hey I can’t make it to work you know, I don’t have a car, I don’t have this, he’s always here. Bike or Lyft, it doesn’t matter, he’s here,” Michaeli said.

And Michaeli may be Mulder’s manager, but she says she’s the one learning from him.

“Don’t judge people by their cover. Just you know, don’t assume that because they have disabilities that they’re not able to do what other people can, because they can,” Michaeli said.

Mulder hopes to work with numbers in the future after finishing his accounting degree at Southeast Tech.

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