18 March 2006

Some Immigrants Get It

When people emmigrate from particularly brutal regimes, it is always refreshing to hear how appreciative they are to be in the United States. Robert Fulghum writes about an encounter with one such young man.

Monday, on the one clear sunny day we had in months, dirty cars were lined up at the carwash like it was a border crossing. Doors and trunks were flung open, revealing the cargo truth of how much junk and trash most people carry in their car, regardless of make, model, or driver. While I waited in the delivery zone I tried to predict which car belonged to which driver.
So I'm standing out in the sunshine. Waiting. Watching. The wipe-down crew is mostly very black young men from Ghana, who sing-song to each other in their native language as they work. Standing beside me is a dapper young brown man reading a paperback book: "The Next Millionaire." No doubt the flashy new silver BMW sedan belongs to him.
"That would be you?" I asked, pointing at his book.
"That would be me," he replied.
"That would be you?" I asked, pointing at the BMW.
"No, that would be me," he said, pointing at the next car out of the washer.
An old Yellow Taxi in mint condition. "That’s my cab," said the dapper young man. "If I keep it sharp, I get more rides and better tips." He is, I learned, from Somalia. His first job in the States was in this very car wash. And now, three years later, he owns three Yellow Cabs. He brings them to the Elephant Car Wash to remind himself he is moving on up.
I pointed to his book, "The Next Millionaire," and asked if he expected to win the lottery.
He smiled, "Mister, if you are in America, you have won the lottery."

~ Robert Fulgum, March 16, 2006



The United States of America - where I proudly proclaim that today I will not be a victim. This is the greatest country in the World.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a African American,it's nice to hear of immigrants of African descent coming to America and "making good".I only wish more of my native born bretheren understood that the dream is within their reach if they would only make a effort.As a child,I grew up in Bronzeville and West Englewood under less than affluent cicumstances.But it wasn't until as young man in my late teens and early twenties did I learn what real poverty was.While serving a enlistment in the U.S.Air Force I had the opportunity to travel to many different countries many modern and affluent others much less so. It was in these poorer countries often with oppressive laws that my eyes were truly opened.I realized that in the larger scheme of things,I wasn't as bad off as I thought.I came to the conclusion that I live in one the greatest countries on the planet.And that I was the master of my destiny. It's something I try to teach my children,neices,nephews and one day my grandchildren.That's not to say America doesn't have poverty,racisim,and class polarization,but all things considered,I'D RATHER BE AMERICAN!!