Let’s Hear It For The Immigrants

Immigrants Make America Great

The wife (Cruella) and I are travelling for the next two weeks. Actually we’ll be on a cruise ship. More about that next time.

This time I’d like to say a good word for the newest Americans working the crappiest jobs who frankly saved our bacon over the last 24 hours.

Our flight from San Francisco to Atlanta was delayed two and a half hours because of the winter weather on the East Coast. Just quickly, really Delta? Are you not aware that in late January, early February it can get really snowy on the East coast? And if so why are you using a plane coming from JFK to SFO to then turn it around and send it to ATL?

But I digress.

Arriving in Atlanta we had a grand total of 25 minutes to catch our connecting flight to Miami. Making the situation just a bit trickier is that the Miami flight was leaving from the furthest gate from where our Atlanta flight landed. Of course. Here is our first immigrant (I’m guessing Salvadoran), the gate agent who told us exactly the quickest way to get to that next flight. We made it with moments to spare.

Unfortunately our bags didn’t. Which is a big deal when you are only spending (now) only 12 hours in Miami and then will be on a ship going out to sea for two days before dropping in at the US Virgin Islands. Fortunately our second immigrant (Dominican?) was the woman at the Delta baggage service who did yeoman work tracking down our bags and assuring us they would be on the first flight in the morning. She was honest enough to say that it was a good idea for us to be there when the flight arrives because “there are thieves you know”.

Yes, I know.

Our next immigrant (Iranian) was the cab driver who specializes in quick runs from the airport to the airport area hotels. Cab neat as a pin, horrified at the thought of Cruella lifting her carry on bag into the trunk, and I suspect his skills as a driver were honed on the mean streets of Tehran. Yeah, he was fast, but he knew our hotel, even asked exactly which one we were going to because there are two of the same brand in the same area, and pointed out exactly where we could go to get some food since we hadn’t had anything beyond some snacks in over 12 hours.

The Denny’s by the Miami airport is 24 hours in case you ever need to know.

After checking in and grabbing a whopping four hours of sleep we headed down to the restaurant attached to the hotel. At night it’s a steakhouse, but in the morning it’s a breakfast café and much to our surprise because it’s not mentioned on their website and was not mentioned by the overnight clerk at the hotel (not an immigrant), the breakfast was included.

The best bacon and eggs I’ve ever eaten, served by an Indonesian woman who kept the coffee refills coming with a smile (I assume beneath her mask). She was fast, efficient, and all in all a pleasure to deal with on four hours sleep and a nagging set of thoughts about what we were going to do if the bags weren’t on that first flight from ATL.

The hotel has a shuttle service to and from the airport (it ends at midnight which is why we had to take a cab the night before) and the driver (Cuban?) again was horrified by Cruella hoisting her own carryon bag. I’ve never seen a shuttle driver jump out of the driver’s seat and get over to the passenger door faster than this guy. Again, quickly we found ourselves back at the terminal just as the baggage from that first ATL flight was arriving.

Our luck must have been improving as the bags were some of the first on the conveyor belt.

The point is every one of these people was kind, generous, efficient, and willing to go the extra mile in order to please their customers. They are working tough jobs at hours of the day most Americans have never seen. They have to deal with people who are not exactly having the best of days (especially the baggage service woman) and yet they manage to get the job done and keep their cool. Most of all they are willing, I’d even say happy, to work some of the crappiest jobs the American economy has to offer, all in pursuit of what we call the American Dream.

So to all of those who dismiss immigrants or even go so far as to say America needs to shut it’s doors to them I say unless you are willing to work the overnight shift at baggage service or do short runs in a cab at one in the morning or serve sleep deprived travelers breakfast keep your big fat mouth shut. Welcome them, embrace them, they ARE making America great again.

We’ll let Willie, Waylon, and the boys (including that San Mateo High grad) sing us out

Shapiro Out