We're All Immigrants: What My Uber Driver Taught Me About Hard Work, Hope & America by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
This past weekend I was in Boston for a conference. I spent the entire ride to the airport for my return flight talking to my Uber driver. I'm so glad I did. My driver shared with me that he came to the U.S. from Brazil at the age of 19.
He was alone and spoke not a word of English. He came here to help provide for his family, a single mom and siblings. His father had been killed when he was 4. His first job was in the hotel where he picked me up. He used to walk 2 miles to work every day, even in the snow and bitter Boston cold because he didn’t know how to navigate the public transportation system.
Today, he is a retired business owner, choosing to work as an Uber driver in retirement. He is a father and grandfather. One son owns a commercial real estate business in Dallas (he proudly showed me the company’s brochure). His younger son is a Boston firefighter who risks his life to save others. My new friend, Valter, told me that he came to America for the opportunities and that he thanks God every day for this country.
I choked back tears as he told me his story of courage, hard work and hope. I thought of the humble beginnings of my own family. This country was built by immigrants. We must not forget this.
Thank you, Valter.