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An unlikely friendship with muscle behind it

(File, Associated Press)

He was a little nervous. Sammy Callari, a former high school athlete and former MMA fighter with three wins under his belt, was anxious about training someone with a disability.

But when the Southwest Florida personal trainer met 13-year-old Parker those nerves melted away. The two hit it off and have, over the years, built a friendship like no other. A friendship with some muscle behind it.

“I like my relationship with Sammy and he’s like a brother and Sam is a really good man. I love him with all my heart,” Parker told Naples News.

Sammy blushes and wraps an arm around Parker. He’s grown close to the teen – often posting videos of them dancing and singing in his car as they drive to the gym.

“I feel like society portrays those with disabilities as difficulties. I’ve never seen it like that. Obviously, he has Downs Syndrome so there’s a lot of difficulties that will lie ahead for him and I realize that. But that doesn’t mean where you start is where you have to end up,” Sammy said.

Sammy told the newspaper that he also trains clients with Parkinson’s disease and one day plans to open his own gum so more clients with special needs can find the confidence he’s helped Parker discover.

You can hear Colleen O’Brien’s “Daily Dose of Kindness” segment every morning at 7:30 a.m. on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

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