A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Good Worker Sam

As part of Anne Marie’s birthday gift this year, my cats and I treated her to a Philadelphia Phillies game. This is becoming an annual event: we go to one game per year, even though we would love to go more often. We also splurge since we only do it once a year. Instead of taking SEPTA to the game with a long hike between train stations, we hire a limousine. It’s a nice treat, and this year it’s how we met our driver, Sam.

We only knew him for 45 minutes, but in that amount of time we learned a lot about Sam and his life. He was very talkative and personable. He told us about a few of his driving experiences with the limousine company (including being stopped by the highway patrol on the Schuylkill Expressway), where he lives (a condo where all he does is sleep), his family (four children), and some of his encounters with the health care industry.

Sam claimed that he earns anywhere from $25-30K per year driving a limo. He works more than full time – 7 days a week. Last year, he worked four jobs and only earned $17K for the year. Even with his driver earnings, he told us he can’t afford health insurance and practically lives off of the 99 cent meal deals at McDonalds.

He complained about the association fees for his condo near Norristown. Anne Marie, being a former condo owner in Virgina, empathized with him. He told us he is looking to refinance, or possibly sell the condo altogether.

Before we learned all this though, Anne Marie played a guessing game with him. She detected an accent and tried to ascertain from which country he came. After a half dozen guesses, Sam finally admitted that he is from Egypt.

Egypt is where his children live, children he hasn’t seen in 1.5 years. Egypt, according to Sam, has less economic opportunity than the United States at the moment. Bear in mind, our unemployment rate is near 10%, and we’re sweating out the possibility of rising deficits. Yet with all this, we are still better off than Egypt, as per Sam.

By his accounting, Sam is a good, hard working man. Neither Anne Marie nor I asked about his immigration status, or his religious beliefs. That didn’t matter to us, because he is just a human being looking for a better life for himself and his family.

I couldn’t help wondering since that ride how people like him will get caught up in America’s current xenophobic mood. Will his accent make people uncomfortable around him? It would be their loss! Sam and millions like him are real people who came here to take advantage of America’s promise of peace and prosperity. They are not the faceless numbers that those adopting the hard line approach in our current immigration reform debate love to denigrate.

Once they discover his nationality, will they think of him as one of those Muslims who according to the witches and warlocks of fear (namely Palin, Beck, Limbaugh and Gingrich) are trying to take over our so-called Christian nation? As I stated above, we didn’t even ask him about his beliefs, but fearful people being fearful people will most likely profile him as a possible terrorist. This would be a great shame, because Sam, from all appearances, is on his way to becoming a credit to whichever country he finally calls home.

Good luck, Sam!

(Thank you for reading. Please remember, never fear to question everything you read and hear. The answers can only enrich your life.)


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