Monday, April 6, 2015

Overnights, the Work Ethic, and the American Dream

I've been doing overnight TV and radio for a very long time, and there's something unique about overnights.  There's a special bond with the listeners and the viewers.  The overnight pace, most nights, isn't is frantic.  You know them a little better.  They know you.

I had all the regulars calling me when I was on the radio.  There are a few who ring me up at the office now just to say hi.  I'm sorry I can't talk long.  The weekend morning news waits for no one.

I keep roughly the same "up all night" schedule on my days off.  It's the same in person.  You get to know the people at the gym a little better, Turkey Hill, Sheetz, Sunoco, WalMart...

I make at least one WalMart stop, in the wee hours, every week.  The staff knows me.  I see the same faces stocking the shelves and manning the registers.  Many mornings, a man of Indian or Pakistani descent is at the check out.  Great guy.  Friendly, efficient, personable, professional...

Thursday morning last week, he was behind the register at one of the big box home improvement stores when I was buying my flowers.  Friday morning, at 4 AM, he was checking out customers at WalMart.  I asked how many jobs he has and why.  The reply was he has a child entering college, and another who will be graduating from high school in two years.  He's working multiple jobs to help them get through school.

I wanted to cry.

First, I thought of my parents, who helped me get through school a long time ago.  Thankfully, it was much cheaper then.  I will never forget their help and sacrifice.  There was no way I could have done it on my own.

Then, I thought about the immigration debate in this country, and how people who look different often get a hard time.

It is every parents' wish to have their children do better than they did.

You can have the American dream, even if you weren't born in America.