“RJ Peete begins his day by driving to Dodger Stadium with Dodgers intern and former Little League World Series sensation Mo’ne Davis, who for the summer is staying at the home of Peete’s parents, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete and actress Holly Robinson-Peete.
A clubhouse attendant since 2016, RJ arrives a good eight hours before the 7:10 p.m. first pitch, punctuating his work day by conversing with co-workers and enveloping players in hugs. He drives home at midnight, fields questions from his mom about the game, says he loves her, then jumps on a trampoline in the backyard until he’s tired enough for sleep.
Driving. Employment. Conversation. Hugging. Verbally expressing love.
A doctor told RJ’s parents upon his diagnosis with autism at age 3 that he’d do none of that his entire life because the neurological and developmental disorder can present severe social, behavioral and communication challenges. His development into a functional, joyful and — yes — employable adult is largely the result of a doting family with the resources to access the best treatment and the contacts to provide rare opportunities.
The Dodgers are his benefactors and the beneficiaries of his growth.”