"My nanny used to tell me stories about my parents and she promised that they would come back home. My father was in the Vietnam War and he never returned after he left. Because of the war, my parents got separated from each other when I was a young boy. ..I used to get so UPSET! Why aren't [my parents] looking for me? Because of the culture, they didn’t let women study and go to school. My nanny never learned how to read & write so when she went looking for my parents during the war, she could never find them. I used to get so mad at her back in the day and didn’t understand why...
Food & Service
"I've learned how to be happy with what I have. I’ve learned that you don’t need to pursue a 'career job' or a [formal] 9-5 to be happy. Because you can have that dream job or make a 6 figure salary but still be miserable.
"It’s very interesting because I have a college degree and people are surprised that I work here! I realized that not everyone is meant to have a 'career job' and that sometimes you just need to go where your passions [lie].
“I grew up in El Salvador and came to the United States in 1983 as a refugee. I escaped from the El Salvadoran Civil War. Back then I was only 17 years old and I had to serve by force. I was in my first year in college when I got drafted! I didn’t even have a choice, they took me by force to the army. As soon as I got drafted, I thought about how to escape. It was a horrible experience. Many of my uncles, cousins and friends back home got killed because of the war. What I regret the most is that I couldn’t even say goodbye to my family..
“I remember one time there was a gentleman that was sitting outside during a busy day. He had just bought something from me, and as soon as he sat down I heard a loud thump. He had collapsed onto the floor and was gushing blood. As soon as I heard it, I went out to help him.
"What really stood out to me during that day was the way that everyone came together and tried to help him. The students and everyone else in the area were stopping and offering whatever help they could give.
"When my kids were little, I made a promise to them that I would always tell them the truth - even if it got me into trouble. And I always encouraged them to do the same.. Every day when they came home from school, before we had dinner, my kids and I used to talk about how we spent the day and we were honest with each other. I always left the door open for them to tell the truth and have loved my children no matter what.
"To be honest, I can't wait to get here and see my kids (the students). Many of them are so far away from home and I treat them like they are my own.. Some days, they could be down and I can tell that something is wrong.. But I always try and put smiles on their faces! If it weren't for the students, I would not be here."