How did President George H. W. Bush and a young entrepreneur with Down syndrome come together? And how did Mr. Bush come to wear John’s socks in tribute to his late wife at Mrs. Bush’s funeral?
It all comes down to socks and showing people what’s possible. John Cronin spreads happiness through his socks and his business, John’s Crazy Socks. Every day, he shows what someone with a disability can do. President Bush has longed championed the rights of people with disabilities. John’s desire to connect with people through socks led John and President Bush to form a bond over their love of crazy socks and their commitment to the possibilities in all of us.
John Cronin is a 22-year-old man with Down syndrome who has loved crazy socks his entire life. In the fall of 2016, he asked his Dad if they could open a business selling socks. His father Mark agreed and the two set to work. In December 2016, John’s Crazy Socks was born. John and Dad set out not only to sell socks, but to show what people with intellectual disabilities can do. And they built a business that Gives Back by raising money for charities like the Special Olympics and the National Down Syndrome Society.
Enter President Bush. Last year, John read a story about President Bill Clinton giving a pair of colorful socks to President Bush. That gave John an idea. “I said, I want to send President Bush some of my socks.” So, John sent a box of socks to President Bush’s office in Houston.
In March of this year, President Bush’s Office called looking for some more socks. John was only happy to send another box of socks. “I sent him my Down Syndrome Super Hero Socks because I designed them and thought President Bush would like them.”
Soon after, John received a special package in the mail. It was a note from President Bush thanking John for the socks and he sent a pair of socks to John as well. The letter read,
Thank you so much for the generous gift. I am happy to see that you and I have the same taste in fun, colorful socks…We knew that people with disabilities like Down syndrome are capable of doing amazing things if they are given the opportunity. You are a wonderful example of what Americans can do despite the challenges that they face. We are proud of all that you have accomplished.”
“I loved it,” said John. “I couldn’t believe that I got a letter from President Bush.”
John got another surprise. President Bush wore John’s Down Syndrome Super Hero Socks on World Down Syndrome day and tweeted about it. President Bush wrote, “Yesterday, I was inspired by my friend John Cronin to wear these beauties from @JohnsCrazySocks for World Down Syndrome Day.” As President, Mr. Bush had signed into law the American with Disabilities Act which changed the world for so many.
“Mr. Bush made me so happy,” said John. John stands up for people with Down syndrome and always says, “Down syndrome never holds me back.” To have President Bush support people with Down syndrome made him a hero to John.
Then Mrs. Bush passed away. John wanted to do something for President Bush. “I knew he would be sad, so I sent him a card telling him I hoped he felt better and how great a woman Mrs. Bush was.”
Once again, President Bush’s office called, this time looking for socks that the President and his family could wear to honor Mrs. Bush. John sent a box of book-themed socks made by one of our favorite suppliers (ModSocks) that John thought would be perfect for his friend and the entire Bush family. The day of the services, Mr. Bush’s spokesperson tweeted this statement:
To honor his wife of 73 years and her commitment to family literacy, for which she raised over $110 million over the course of over 30 years,@GeorgeHWBush will be wearing a pair of socks festooned with books at today’s funeral service for former First Lady Barbara Bush.
John was moved to tears when he saw the President wearing his socks in tribute to his late wife. “I wanted to make President Bush happy with the socks because I know he loved Mrs. Bush.”
In honor of Mrs. Bush, and to recognize all President Bush has done for people facing disabilities, John has now re-named those socks the Library Socks for Literacy. There are men’s socks and women’s socks. We will donate 100 percent of the profits from each pair of these socks to the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation.
That is how a former President and a young entrepreneur connected. They bonded over socks and showing what is possible.