By PERLA ARELLANO
People come from all around the world to have a little bit of what the “Land of Opportunity” can offer. This nation is made up of hard-working people who want to better themselves in one way or another.
I worked for a fast food restaurant for a few months, and I would meet people from all over the world, believe it or not. One day I met a man who came from the UK. I still remember what he ordered, because for some reason British people make everything sound so sophisticated. It’s amazing.
There was another moment when we were short on crew workers, and a woman who worked at another restaurant was called in to work a shift with us. She came from Colombia and hadn’t gone back for around 14 years.
She first went to live in New York and ended up in Amarillo. She liked it here, she said, because everything was much calmer.
She always had worked in fast food; it was what she knew. She stayed because she was better off here than back in her home country, where traffic was crazy and everyone was crowded.
Many people of different cultures came through those fast food doors, and they all had one thing in common: they believed their homeland was beautiful, but in this country, one could succeed.
The only thing I appreciated from working in fast food – other than being paid – was realizing how fortunate I was for living here and how it opened my eyes to strive for something more. People risk their lives every day trying to come to a foreign country in hopes of pursuing happiness and financial stability. Some do not survive.
They jump on moving trains just like the one known as La Bestia (The Beast), where at times they lose their limbs, lives and hopes. But if they can get on, they can cross from one country to another, hopefully alive.
Most of them have hopes of returning back to their homeland in two or three years but end up staying the rest of their lives – mainly, I believe, because they have built a life here, and going back wouldn’t be a step forward.
I would get into conversations with them, and they would tell me how they wished for something better for their children. They want them to go to college and get an education and have a better job than the one they have now. They don’t want their children to work in fast food.