by John on July 13, 2011

“Your wife she’s Nicaraguaensa no?” asked the lady that works at the coffee stand by my office. “Yes” I replied somewhat nervously, wondering where this conversation was going. As it later turned out, I was worried for no reason.

“I’m from Nicaragua” she said, standing a bit taller and squaring her shoulders. She asked me what I thought about her country, its people, the countryside and the laughable public officials. I answered all her questions honestly, but she was still holding back something.

“You know when I was there I was an ‘Assistante Executiva’ and I worked for two very large prestigious firms. I then had a chance to move into bookkeeping but then the earthquakes and the revolution” she looked me dead in the eyes making sure that I acknowledged her expertise. “It was tough, I cried and I had to pay someone to smuggle my children into Costa Rica”.

I listened intently and smiled. Miami is full of stories from people who’ve lived glamorous lives and who are now toiling away in relative anonymity. Some stories are true, others are grand fabrications but there is usually a kernel of truth in the fabrications, you just need to listen.

She went on telling me more about her family, her sons, her trips to Costa Rica, and how even though life is hard here in the U.S. she’s happy, she’s proud, and she takes pride in the work that she does daily.

She had to go, excusing herself politely because there were other customers. I had to get back to my office and finish a few chores that were nagging.

As I walked the few feet back to my office I was smiling and realized that she had given me more than just a quick jolt of caffeine. I was reminded to take pride in my work and to be thankful for the nagging chores.

And now when I pass by the stand I always make it a point to say hello and to see her eyes light up and a huge smile.

That’s worth more than the price of a latte any day…

Photo Credit: My trip to Nicaragua in October 2009. These are some of the most interesting modes of transportation on the Pan-American highway

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

akaBruno July 13, 2011 at 6:43 am

The William Ernest Henley poem?

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: