In the spirit of this holiday season, I thought I would share an update. Back in August of this year, I wrote a story about how we had given our head waiter on our cruise enough money in a tip form for him to be able to fly home to Guatemala to spend time with his family when the boat went into dry dock for renovations this October.
During our cruise, this man was clearly upset one night at dinner and we asked him about it. He explained to us that he has done this kind of work for 13 years and he gets to go home for two weeks every six months. He had just come back to work after his two weeks at home (two weeks prior to our cruise). Earlier that day, he had called home and his four year old son was crying for his daddy. This upset Selvin greatly, which is how we came to learn about it.
A few weeks ago, I read a CNN article about one of this year’s CNN Heroes Juan Pablo Romero Fuentes and how he is making a difference in the lives of children in his country. The article talked about how Guatemala is still reeling from decades of civil war that has caused great poverty and violence, having the 5th highest homicide rate of any country. This really made me understand why this man has chosen to live this difficult life for basically his children’s entire childhoods – he is working to give his family a better life, and this is one way to accomplish it, even if it means they must be separated for long periods of time.
Selvin is one of my heroes; I’m not sure I could make the kind of long-term sacrifice he is making for his family.
All during the month of October, I wondered about our waiter and if he did in fact, go home. Faith and I would smile often as we imagined him getting this unplanned bonus trip and being with his wife and his three kids.
I was delighted to get an email from Selvin on November 5 telling me that he and his family were having a great time together and that his visit home was coming to an end. He also sent this photo of him and his family.
I know that going home one extra time is not going to directly change any of their lives, but hopefully it will show them all that there are caring people in this world. It makes me so happy that we are fortunate enough to have been able to help this very kind man and his family to spend extra time together. And I know that they will each take that ripple effect of kindness and spread it out in their own unique ways. This is how we begin to change the world; one small act of kindness at a time.