There are some unique, inspirational, and amazing stories of people who live in our valley; this is one of them.
Tate Davies and Hanna Homer, along with their families, have overcome preconceived notions in the face of special needs — and the challenges that they can bring — to create a place of belonging for everyone. Their tag line “I’m down” reminds us all to relax and enjoy life with a smile.
Tate Davies, the second of JW and Jen Davies’ five children, is easy going. He loves playing games, particularly Sorry, Guess Who, and he is an UNO champ! He currently attends the Unified Transition College and has participated in many Unified sports teams and activities throughout his life. Tate is well loved by his family, and just as much by Hanna.
Hanna Homer, the eldest of Aaron and Jana Homer’s four children, is almost always smiling and happy. She is nearly as chill and relaxed as Tate, but much more hopelessly romantic. She attends the Unified Transition College as well, participates in the Unified sports programs, and loves to relax on the beach. She is also well loved by her family, and Tate reciprocates her affection for him; he lovingly exclaims “Hanna is so beautiful”.
Tate and Hanna both have Down syndrome.
Tate and Hanna became friends during their freshman and sophomore years of high school; Hanna was 14 and Tate 15. They had an instant, “quick and easy”, connection and have been together ever since. During their remaining high school years, they had the same Special Education core classes, participated in many of the same extracurricular activities, and spent as much time as they could together.
Now, that high school is over, and the two are in college they — of course — still keep each other company as often as possible. Hanna will gladly and proudly proclaim that Tate is her boyfriend, and to watch them interact with each other — well, there are very few things I have seen that are half as tender. Tate’s older brother and sister-in-law frequently take the two on dates or trips. Their chill personalities lend to some easy company and laughter. Their families often vacation together and recently returned from a trip to Hawaii where, as Jana explained, Tate and Hanna “lived their best life” even with the chaos and exhaustion of the other people in the group.
During the not-so-distant days of the COVID pandemic, things got a little rough. When everything shut down, Tate and Hanna found themselves in need of an activity — they had nothing to do. Activities that other kids had to entertain them, like working, were not really an option. Jen explains, “We feel like most kids with special needs are put somewhere in the back…I’ve even heard them [the employers] say that for ‘liability reasons’ (for something they might say to somebody)…they [the employers] don’t want that.” Tate and Hanna’s parents talked about the possibility of opening an ice cream shop — for the flexibility it offered both families — and the idea for Tate & Hanna’s Food Truck was born. Jana shared that it was an opportunity to give the two a job and let them interact without fear. And an opportunity to show people that, “…these kids are valuable. They can do stuff. We don’t need to shove them in the back corner to wash dishes…they’re perfectly capable.”
The business is truly inspirational; people came from all over the state for the grand opening and to support kids with disabilities. Jen mentioned how many kids would show up to their days-on-location and just stay the whole day; several people, especially others with disabilities, would come to the events and pull out a chair and talk and laugh with each other and enjoy feeling included. Jen shared that it is sometimes rough on the families to run the little business because they are all busy and have full time jobs but then, “there were a couple of days last year that I just thought, ‘This is the reason’, when these kids come and hang out.” One young man, also with Down syndrome and mostly nonverbal, nearly brought his mom to tears when he responded to Tate by verbalizing his drink choice. The hope for the future of the business is to get to the point where other individuals with special needs can be employed as well, continuing to show the world the value and depth that they offer.
The idea of the food truck is not meant to raise any grandiose expectations. Tate and Hanna keep it simple and sell only drinks and treats mainly from local companies in the valley. What patrons can expect; however, is an added dose of love, a giant smile, and even a hug or two, if you’re willing to let them live up to their motto.
We believe in sharing BIG smiles & even bigger hugs.
We believe that an extra chromosome = extra love.
We believe that this life has downs, but together we can create the ups.
We believe that there is no overuse of ‘I love you’
As our new friend, we love you & are glad you are here.
Want to find Tate and Hanna this summer?
Thursday night Heber Market on Main, Heber City Park
Or simply follow @tate.and.hanna on Instagram for more information and to see all of their upcoming events. Click on the link in their bio to book them for your event or to see their menu.