Welcome, Guest! - or
Easy to remember!  »  VinNews.com

Brooklyn, NY - Autistic Numbers Whiz Thrives in Kramer's Hardware Store

Published on: April 19, 2010 07:37 PM
By:  CBS News
Change text size Text Size  

GeorgeBrooklyn, NY - I came to Kramer’s hardware in Brooklyn, N.Y., to meet a man name George, who everyone said would give me an interview unlike any I’d ever done before.

His responses to questions about when customers starting coming in and what the store was like in the old days didn’t result in much of a response.

Then I realized I was asking the wrong questions. George’s boss, Isaac Abraham, says I should have started out by asking him something like - what’s the inventory control number on this random set of faucet handles? “99-0163, they’re Centrals,” George quickly responded. He’s right. And he can do it with just about every part in the place.

Abraham compares George’s incredible memory and ability to track endless numbers and quantities of inventory to that of Dustin Hoffman’s character in the film “Rain Man.” Hoffman won an Oscar for his portrayal of an autistic savant. “He qualifies to be Rain Man number two,” says Abraham.



Born with what doctors said back then was a developmental disability, George started working at his father’s hardware store in 1951. When Abraham bought the place 30 years later, he kept George on - partly as a promise to George’s dad—but mostly because Isaac realized that the place would fall apart without George.

Advertisement:

When asked what George does for the store, Abraham said, “Basically everything.” The store doesn’t need a computer, he says. George keeps track of all this inventory - in his head. He also knows the phone numbers of all the suppliers, and can even tell you how to get there. Never mind that he doesn’t drive and has never even been there himself.

No one can say for sure how he does it or why genius would manifest itself through hardware parts. But one thing is obvious—it gives his life order—and order, for all of us, is comfort.



More of today's headlines

New York, NY - City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has given a glowing proclamation to some cops she would love to see lose their jobs. Quinn presided at a ceremony... England - Flawed computer models may have exaggerated the effects of an Icelandic volcano eruption that has grounded tens of thousands of flights, stranded hundreds of...

 

Total17

Read Comments (17)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Apr 19, 2010 at 08:05 PM Anonymous Says:

Wow that is amazing - the rest of us surely cannot compete with him!

2

 Apr 19, 2010 at 08:42 PM Anonymous Says:

If he looks at lotto #s he can figure out poss. the winning #s

3

 Apr 19, 2010 at 09:00 PM Anonymous Says:

There is a guy like this in my beis medrash. He can remember the daf and amud for every machlokes between every second and third tier amaraim but he cannot explain why they have any relevance to anything else.

4

 Apr 19, 2010 at 09:35 PM esther Says:

won't it be amazing to hear what these people have to tell us when moshiach finally comes?

5

 Apr 19, 2010 at 09:50 PM Savant Says:

A savant?

8

 Apr 19, 2010 at 10:30 PM Anonymous Says:

Hashem gives everyone the tools they need for life and what one person may have someone else may be lacking that's what makes us all unique, there are plenty of frum chuildren like this in our communities who are unfortanatly getting "written off" by our yeshivah system or lack of system, if only the powers that be recognized the individualism and would follow chanoch lenaar al pi darco these children can have bright futures after all who's to say who the normal one really is

9

 Apr 19, 2010 at 10:38 PM rikki Says:

George is a really nice guy...always a nice word and a great memory for addresses, as well. Keep up the good work!!!!

10

 Apr 19, 2010 at 11:28 PM Anonymous Says:

Does he a life insurance ?

11

 Apr 19, 2010 at 11:33 PM Dav Says:

Very interesting story, at the other hand it’s a big Kiddush Hashem how Mr. Isaac Abraham is keeping his promise about this Mr.George keeping in a good shape and environment so he can run the store for him,
At the same time Mr. Abraham is always available to help his people in the community. Just keep up your good work……

12

 Apr 20, 2010 at 01:08 AM Mottel Says:

Search for Kramers Hardware on google maps and zoom to streetview. You'll see Mr Abraham and George loading up the car.

13

 Apr 20, 2010 at 12:17 PM Conservative One Says:

I know George well. He is the sweetest guy anyone can meet. It's always been a pleasure to talk with him.

14

 Apr 20, 2010 at 01:45 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
Anonymous Says:

Does he a life insurance ?

What kind of question is that?

15

 Apr 20, 2010 at 05:45 PM Anonymous Says:

I enjoyed this story

17

 Apr 20, 2010 at 06:06 PM 5T Resident Says:

This man is truly a pitiful person. I don't think you folks understand what an autistic savant is. True, he can keep facts and figures in his head forever, and that is quite amazing on the surface, but in reality he is a very disabled person. He remembers names, addresses and numbers but he has no understanding what any of them mean or why they are important. He can't make a value judgment, doesn't know what emotions are and I will bet that he can't do simple addition or subtraction either. He can't appreciate things like a nice day or a good meal, to say nothing about being married and having a family. His life is all ordered - numbers and names and that's it. I will also bet that Mr. Abraham kept him on because if he didn't, and George's routine is broken, he could very well become dangerously psychotic and would need to be institutionalized.

I'm sure many of you did not see "Rain Man" but it was a very touching portrayal of an autistic savant.

18

 Apr 20, 2010 at 08:08 PM Isaac Abraham Says:

To 5T Resident

This is for the readers of this blog and a response to you

I have never seen a person define and issue, illness and peson as wrong as you did with an english that makes you look like a doctor with many degree or a psychologist
.
You are wrond on every remark, I have been with him now for 30 years, he knows when he has a good meal, good music, loves his family, sends over 2,000 birthday and holiday cards to friends and family.

I think you should have a check-up at the nearest clinic, because George was never and will never be a danger, he is more like a teddy bear in life.

The main think to learn from this story is not to lock these people in a house or send them to a mental institution and pump them with drugs on tax payers expense, give them a job and responsability and they are productive citizens just like me and you. and this is what I have done.

19

 Apr 20, 2010 at 09:35 PM Anonymous Says:

WOW unbelievable

20

 Apr 21, 2010 at 10:17 AM 5T Resident Says:

Reply to #18  
Isaac Abraham Says:

To 5T Resident

This is for the readers of this blog and a response to you

I have never seen a person define and issue, illness and peson as wrong as you did with an english that makes you look like a doctor with many degree or a psychologist
.
You are wrond on every remark, I have been with him now for 30 years, he knows when he has a good meal, good music, loves his family, sends over 2,000 birthday and holiday cards to friends and family.

I think you should have a check-up at the nearest clinic, because George was never and will never be a danger, he is more like a teddy bear in life.

The main think to learn from this story is not to lock these people in a house or send them to a mental institution and pump them with drugs on tax payers expense, give them a job and responsability and they are productive citizens just like me and you. and this is what I have done.

To Mr. Abraham: Thank you for your response. Your personal attacks to one side, I am glad that George has a lot of happiness in his life. I was basing my statements on the above article about George which, based on what you say, turned out to be utter nonsense. If George knows when he has a good meal, enjoys good music, is able to show love for his family and is able to send thousands of greeting cards, then he is not an autistic savant. Genuinely autistic people live in a world of their own. They are unable, for the most part, unable to form relationships with other people. Their minds are preoccupied with letters, numbers and other formulaic items. They can't form value judgments and certainly can't express love for family in the way we know it. They have a set way of life and any substantial disruption of that way of life can make them psychotic. They're usually a danger to themselves in such a case, not a danger to others, by the way.

Perhaps George has Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of autism. This would explain his ability to remember numbers and names while still functioning in society. At any rate, he sounds like a unique person and I wish him, and you, well.

21

Sign-in to post a comment

Click here to sign-in.

Scroll Up
Advertisements:
Sell your scrap gold and broken jewelry and earn hard cash sell gold today!