Trying

March 23,2009
Talia's Blog
Talia Rivera( )

Talia Rivera is a 33-year-old mother of two. As Executive Director of Villages without Walls, she works with high-risk gang members in Boston. [Read more]

A young man wearing a black leather jacket, baggy blue jeans, and a tear-drop tattoo under his right eye stood next to me in line at the local Dunkin Donuts. He asked for the manager. The manager arrived, still tense from having just kicked out a drunk, “How can I help you?” The young man replied, “I haven’t heard from you and I wanted to check in.” Nothing. “Do you remember me?” he asked. “I filled out a job application.” The manager responded, loudly, “You don’t get a job because you fill out an application. I will call you when I am ready.” I could see the tear drop fill with moisture as the young man turned and walked out. I wanted to run out after him but I was still waiting for my bagel. “Is my bagel ready,” I asked? “What kind of bagel are you waiting for?” “A plain bagel with cream cheese,” I said. I looked out the window to see which way he walked. “Yes, it’s ready,” she handed me the bagel. I ran to the car. I drove up the street. I saw him. I beeped the horn and pulled over. He looked. I asked, “Can I talk to you for a moment?” He crossed the street to me. “I want you to know that I appreciate the courage it took for you to walk in there and ask about your application. I know that wasn’t an easy thing to do.” He said, “You know what I wanted to tell him? I wanted to tell him to take his job and shove it up his ass. I’m trying to do right.” “I know,” I said. “Please, no matter how many doors are closed, stay aggressive.” I found a piece of paper, wrote down my number, and gave it to him. I told him I wanted to help him. He began to walk away, then paused to look back. He said, “You remind me of my aunt.” As I drove away, his tattoo filled with the tears that ran down my face.