My father worked in a dangerous neighborhood, but he learned he didn’t need to be afraid.
In the mid-1950s, my father migrated to Chicago and got a job as a dishwasher in a hotel downtown. The neighborhood was dangerous. Making matters worse, the distance from the hotel to the apartment where he was staying was far, and by the time his shift was over, the buses had stopped running.
“Pilar, last night someone was robbed and beaten outside,” my father’s coworker cautioned him as he clocked out of his shift. “Stay a little longer and wait for someone else to walk with you. It’s not safe.”
My dad was not a fearful man. “I’m tired,” he told her. “I need to get home.” But when he got to the door and looked out toward the dark and empty street, a shiver went down his spine. He made the sign of the cross and prayed to the Holy Trinity for protection.
Fortunately, on the way home, he didn’t encounter anyone. The streets were deserted. He arrived at his apartment safely.
The next morning, my father’s coworker approached him. “I’m glad you took my advice and waited for some company,” she said.
“What do you mean?” my father asked, confused. “I didn’t wait.”
“When you left, I saw you weren’t alone,” she insisted. “Who were those three people walking at your side?”
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