SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 39: Call To Action In Helping A Neighbor

For the last 38 meetings I have taken long notes; there is no need for that in interviewing my latest new friend Miguel. His story hits home in a very poignant way.

The economy has affected us all hard over the last years. Miguel is a testament to the depth of its effect on hard-working citizens.

He lives not far from my home, just a few blocks North of my street. Has a great work ethic, and pays his fair share of taxes. Yet he has not worked a paying day in over a year.

Not by any lack of effort or weakness of ability, mind you, rather by the forces of a down turning economy. A welder by trade, he was laid off of a well-paying position– one that not only supported him, but contributed to the security of his single mother and six siblings. Since that time he has applied for endless employment opportunities with no results. A situation I’m sure many of us have found ourselves experiencing on one level or another.

Miguel is one of an endless list of hard-working Americans, not looking for a handout, but a respectable job.

As we chat, I can see the concern in his face. He talks to me about the pain of unemployment, and its effects on him: Weight gain, a short bought of depression and the stress brought on by the possibly of loosing his home. All the while expressing his love for his mother and pride in his siblings.

Miguel is a good man!

After returning from an unsuccessful ninety minute driving and walking 365 search, I run into him only one hundred yards from my front door step. I’m sitting on the curb, not sure where to go and he finds me as he is returning from playing basketball with his brothers. We strike up a conversation, instantly I know I need to publish his story of tenacity.

We start off by talking about is his loss of over one hundred pounds, weight he rapidly gained at the start of an unemployment depression. A depression he rapidly overcame, realizing it would get him nowhere. He credits physical activity as a major contributor in keeping him grounded and on path to maintaining his health as well as a positive mental perspective. I’m very touched and impressed, knowing many people who battle with the same issues without success.

Miguel stands strong, committed, unshaken and humbly willing to share his story.

He tells me, “I’ll never fall that far into that depth of depression again,” going on to explain how that moment turned out to be a great motivator fo him as to where he does not want to be.

We brainstorm ideas for employment and I realize that I might have a lead or two for him — something I am planning on acting upon tomorrow, after all, “He is my neighbor.”

It is hard for him to answer my questions, but I can sense the weight of his desire to provide for his family is first and foremost on his agenda. No selfish words are in his vocabulary, again, only concern for his mother and siblings. You see, his father left when he was eight, making him the patriarch of the family. And please don’t get me wrong, this is no poor me story, quite the opposite. There is no guile or victim in Miguel’s tone. Even going on to state, “I am wanting to find my father and talk with him, to see who he is.”

He talks of his dream, simple and to the point, “Work to kick-in, so we can keep the house, everything, and I can help my family.”

I’m telling you, Miguel is a gentle giant, with one point-of-view: Family First.

His compassion is evident as he states his wishes for my readers, “Hope you don’t go through this.”

The oldest of his siblings, Miguel carries an evident concern for his family. His greatest desire is to provide. Miguel is one in thousands of good people bearing the heavy burdens of unemployment. Not by choice, but by circumstance. He is not looking for charity. All he is seeking is a secure job where he can use his talents to provide for a family.

My challenge, if anyone has a lead on an opening for a highly experienced welder in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know? I’ll pass it on. It’s the least we can do for our neighbor.

Miguel, keep the faith brother!