Having a disability can limit your career options, no matter how capable and hard-working you might be. But John Skopick is making sure his daughter, Danielle, who has cerebral palsy, never has to worry about that.

When Danielle graduated from Lincoln-Way East High School in Frankfort, Illinois, in 2019, Skopick seized the opportunity to buy a long-running pizzeria called Pizza Pete in nearby Orland Park, as the Chicago Tribune reports. Danielle, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at two years old, had worked at an Aurelio’s Pizza store throughout her high school years, and Pizza Pete was going to take her to the next level.

She now manages the shop’s second location in Frankfort.

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Founded in 1967, Pizza Pete is a local dough-slinging landmark known for its thin-crust pies as well as a double-decker—one pizza stacked on top of another. John grew up eating there and, when his younger sister’s friends would call the house, he would answer the phone by saying “Pizza Pete” just to mess with them. “Now here we are, 40 years later,” he told the Tribune.

The Skopick family, along with the Paulas family, purchased the original Pizza Pete store in 2020 after the owner retired. In January 2021, they bought the former Pizza Mia in Frankfort and turned it into Pizza Pete No. 2.

“It really was the perfect business for us, timing-wise and [considering] what we wanted to do for Danielle,” John told the Tribune. “We bought it as a place for Danielle to call her own and come to work every day and have a purpose.”

Danielle isn’t the only differently abled person getting a chance to prove what she can do at Pizza Pete. The Skopicks also hire other people with similar challenges. Four of its employees have disabilities, according to the Tribune.

As the Pizza Pete website notes, “We wanted to give young adults like [Danielle] and other special-needs kids and adults a place to come to work and be active members of society.”

Danielle also instituted Pizza Pete’s “Pizza With a Purpose” program. On Tuesdays, the restaurant partners with a local nonprofit to help raise funds for a worthy cause, donating 25% of the day’s proceeds to that organization.

For Danielle, everything is working out according to the family’s plan. “It’s been great,” she said in the Tribune story. “I love it. We’re all super-close, so it’s been super-fun to all be involved with it. It gives me something to do every day.”

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