I’m may risk offending some of my readers right now, because I’m about to get a little political.
I live in Arizona, a hot desert of a state that borders Mexico. There has been a lot of hysteria in the media lately about illegal immigrants making their way across the border and making a living (barely) doing day labor jobs in the United States. They pick fruit; they clean toilets; they landscape yards and paint houses for a few dollars a day so that they can save money and help their family have a better life. They are a humble and community oriented people. They are also very religious and heartfelt people.
I have never seen a homeless Mexican begging for money on the street. Not once. Not ever. The Mexican people work, and work hard. I think that a lot of people are afraid of the illegal aliens in our country because most illegals don’t speak English and we can’t figure out what they seem to be so happy about. I think it’s a fear born out of ignorance. Sorry.
Now, I know the other side of the argument, that there are drug dealers and gang members. There are a lot of American drug dealers and gang members too. The few “illegals” that are depicted in the 10:00 evening news are not an accurate sample of the migrant workers who want to stay below the radar and just pick our fruit for us.
I know my readers are wondering why I am taking the time to say all of this.
It is because everyday I walk my dogs and see a group of non-English speaking landscapers when I pass through the park. Each day I wave to them, and each day they smile broad smiles and wave back at me.
This morning one of them approached me. In Spanish, he told me his name is Antonio. Antonio is probably in his forties. He had on a t-shirt with the landscaping company’s logo on it, but other than that his clothing was very tattered. A few of his teeth were missing but he smiled widely at me and tried to communicate with me. Between the small bit of English he knew and the even smaller bit of Spanish I knew, Antonio managed to tell me that he has seen me walk my dogs every day. He noticed recently that I lost my hair and must be sick. He told me he loved me and that he and the other landscapers pray for me every day.
Then, Antonio squeezed my hand and went back to work.
This kindness, I will never forget.