Updated: Feb 21, 2019
My family emigrated to the United States when I was 9 years old. For a year our family of eight lived in a small garage a generous family opened for us in Anaheim, California. This garage was home to us, and we endured a cold winter and a hot summer there.
As you can imagine, my parents did many jobs to feed the family. The children helped too. I remember I began working when I was about 10 years old. I helped my Mom deliver newspapers in a retirement community.
Every morning from 1am to 6am we collated, organized, packed and delivered over 800 newspapers. We worked there for about 7 years and many “character building” stories can be told, but one sticks out most.
I remember on this particular Saturday when the paper was heaviest, we packed my mother’s truck to the brim. Normally, I would sit on the tailgate of the truck and delivered the newspapers as my mom drove and yelled out the numbers. On this particular day, I was sitting on the edge’s edge and held on for dear life.
Early in the paper route, when the truck was still full, my mother stopped and then accelerated quickly, and, in the process, I fell hard at about 30mph and many of the newspapers crammed into the truck fell on top of me. I was cut, scrapped, and perhaps concussed. I looked up to see if my mom had noticed, but she didn’t and continued along the way for a long time. Finally, at the end of the block I saw the brake lights shine red through the darkness of the early morning hours and then white as the truck was immediately put into reverse. She quickly came to what I thought was my rescue.
When she finally made it to me, she got out of the truck and as I was just barely licking my wounds, and making my way out of a mountain of newspapers ready to feel sorry for myself, she said to me in a loud voice, “what are you doing on the ground?” and “why are you crying? Get up, pick up the newspapers and let’s go, we have a long route ahead of us.” No sympathy, no checking for wounds, it was as if it was expected and a part of life
As an 11-year-old boy, I had to make a choice. Will, I succumb to my circumstances or get up and keep going? On that day, my mother taught me not to settle to victimhood. You have to find the courage to face your environment and challenges… You have to choose between staying down and blame the unfair circumstances or get up and rise above it and move forward.