SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 57: “I’m Ready For My Photo!”

I’m back at my local Ralph’s parking lot. Why? I’ve held a little secret regarding last night’s meeting with Monica and Matthew.

Flash back: Monica and Matthew are in front of the camera and as we are concluding our photo shoot an unknown face pops into my frame. A happy, inquisitive lady, sporting an Eat, Laugh, Love apron. Seems that curiosity, and the repetitive glow from my camera’s flash, has drawn her in.

She approached, “I’m ready for my photo!” We all laugh and are instantly smitten by her sense of humor and openness in approaching us. Her English is broken, and my Spanish is terrible, but we manage to unite in what 365 is all about.

Not wanting to pass on this opportunity to interview another 365 friend, and feeling crunched on time with my family sitting in the car, I ask her if she would like to participate in an interview at a later date.

Her name is Betty, and I find out she is a demonstrator, and only at Ralph’s one more day this week — tomorrow between 1pm and 7pm. We agree to meet up after her upcoming shift and I promise to bring a translator to help us in our communication.

Back to real time. It’s 7pm.  Air is cold, and very wet from a full day of rainfall. Lucky for us, Mother Nature has given us a break in the deluge, and knowing that I need to photograph Betty outside of her workplace, I feel quite fortunate.

Dan the interpreter

By my side is 365 teammate, Dan. This is his third outing with me, and finding out that his Spanish is fluent, I have enlisted his partnership once again. This is a new experience, the first time I have worked with a translator in conducting a 365 interview.

365 is truly becoming global. Its diversity is starting to take form. My hope, as it progresses, is,  “To continued to open our eyes to the world around us.” With that said, tonight’s journey takes us to Peru, Betty’s home country.

A 16 year citizen of the United States, Betty has no hesitation in expressing her gratitude for what America has allowed her:“Life is good and I’m blessed” are Betty’s general point-of-view.

The weather is not that pleasant, yet deep in conversation, none of us are affected or clock watching. Still, I can tell that we need to keep our interview short. We are all wanting to return home to Friday family-time.

I only have to ask one question and Betty takes off in dialogue. I do my best to keep up – I’d be sunk without the aid of Dan. He is on fire, and with minimal breaks, translated words blast out of him too fast to write.

Betty is full of great advise. This is one hard-working woman who takes pride in her ability to work and provide. A wife and mother of 4 children and 4 grandchildren, her perspective is joyous, outgoing and positive. Quickly I find that I have met yet another person who puts friends, family and others before herself.

She tells me, “I am a good friend.” And after hearing her tell me of experience after experience of what she has done for others, I want to be her friend, too. Betty is the kind of person you can rely on. We should all be friends like her.

Betty laughs with one of the many store friends complimenting her on her photo shoot as they exit the supermarket.

Here we are, standing behind her husband’s truck, in the parking lot taking pictures. Person after person are commenting to Betty. They obviously know her: “Hi Betty! Looking Good! Employee of the month!” There is no doubt the community knows and appreciates her. I understand why… from her life outlook, “Be a good person. Be united and nice with each other without judgment and help each other. You give and God gives back,” are her exact words. These are the words that are shared with me, and for journalistic integrity, I am keeping them intact.

“If you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards,” Betty advises. “Find a job, make yourself useful. A trade, a passion, whatever it is, just move forward.” She expands, further stating, “This is for everybody, but also specific to the Latino community.” I can see where her heart is; her meaning is not meant to be critical, but a call to action for her community. “America is different from Peru. Everything is easier, and there is opportunity for those who work for it, and remember to vote!”

In only a short interview I know that Betty’s work ethic is off the chart. She tells me not only of her education and work history, but that of her husband’s business as well as the work of her son, both self-employed with a muffler, brake and alignment business. My car’s front-end is all messed up and I’m surely going to give this hard-working family my business.

Betty, keep up the good work and thanks for the lessons on being good!