Saying Adios To A Friend

Countless Westporters knew him as an ever-smiling, always gentle and kind man.

His boss knew him as an incredibly hard worker. He volunteered for every task, made sure it was done right, and helped make the entire store run well.

He’s gone now, back to his home country.

He was a legal immigrant. But his wife was undocumented.

They were so fearful of what might happen, they decided to leave. They loved America, and made the most of their lives here. Now though, the risks seemed too great.

His boss is devastated. So — when they heard the news — were the customers, who had become his friends.

I’m not using his name, or where he worked. I’ve been told that in his home country, gangs think people who worked in America have a lot of money. The fear of extortion or robbery is real.

The “06880” reader who told me this story says, “It’s one thing to read about something like this in the paper. It’s so different when someone you like is actually involved.”

The store owner has no idea what her former employee’s new life will be like.

She hopes he stays in touch.

35 responses to “Saying Adios To A Friend

  1. This story brings to mind the 1930’s and early 40’s when people were leaving their homes willingly to come to the United States to escape the oppressive politics of their country. I never imagined it was possible here.

  2. These stories are truly devastating. There is a great organization that helps local immigrants in many ways, including with Legal services, and that has been in the news recently with some high profile deportation cases. If you are interested in learning more, volunteering, or donating, here is the link:

    • Bruce J Kent

      What’s a “local immigrant?” Anything like an ILLEGAL ALIEN who is in OUR country illegally sucking off our largess? Or worse.

      • No, Bruce. This guy was here legally, as was crystal clear in the story. He was doing a job no “Americans” wanted, making money which he contributed back to the local economy, paying taxes, and escaping gangs and violence back home.

        • Bruce J Kent

          I wasn’t referring to HIM Dan; obviously he a productive and welcomed citizen………like my wife who WENT THRU THE PROCESS LEGALLY.

        • Chip Stephens SHS '73

          And what is a job no “American” wants ? I know there are some Americans that don’t want jobs, and I know there are Americans right here in town that do, but certain visitors work for cut rate pay, do not pay taxes and do not carry all the insurance and permits certain locals have to pay in order to work. So these “Americans” may be the ones you speak of that ask for fair pay, pay their dues for their “legal” right to work and many times here in Westport get stuck for 50 cents on the dollar (or less) by their customers because they are blue collar and can’t afford to fight. We used to call it getting stiffed.
          They are local friends we grew up with: stone masons, lawn maintenance, excavators, builders help, the list goes on.
          It is all not fair but be aware there is a price to our locals and my friends if we bitch about the illegal issue and forget about legal locals working legally.

          • Chip, I think you are confusing workers with contractors. Workers don’t need to be licensed and insured; contractors do. There certainly are unlicensed, uninsured contractors out there, but this is a Dept of Consumer Protection issue, not an immigration one. As for your friends who are licensed contractors, have you really asked them if they want a crackdown on immigrant workers? I suspect it would hurt their businesses.

      • Russell Gontar

        You know who else is sucking off our largess? The top 1% who received PERMANENT tax breaks, paid for by you and me. Our little piece expires in just a few years. Try to have a little compassion for REFUGEES who are literally RUNNING FOR THEIR LIVES and are LEGALLY able to apply for refugee status. Their “illegal” crossing is a misdemeanor.

  3. Diane Silfen

    Just one more reason to hate what is going on in this country. So sad

    • Bob Stalling

      Do you hate that it was their own decision to go back to their “home country”…something they chose to do, or do you hate that the U.S. has laws about entering the country legally?

  4. There are two groups nearby that assist immigrants and refugees. CIRI (Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants) has been settling refugees in Connecticut for 100 years. They offer a full range of services for refugees and immigrants and plenty of volunteer opportunities. CIRI is in Bridgeport.
    Immigration Community Support Teams (ICST) work with people in the deportation process and their lawyer to provide wrap around family and legal support to prevent deportations. We’re located in Westport. Contact David Vita, ( Director of Social Justice at The Unitarian Church in Westport, for information.

    • Bruce J Kent

      Thanks for contact and location information on your group David. I’ll be sure to pass it on to ICE.
      Why you might ask? Simple. Because nowhere in your spiel do you use the word LEGAL. For me, that is a deal breaker.

      • If ICE doesn’t already know about David’s group, they’re even more incompetent than I thought.

        • Bruce J Kent

          And why pray tell Dan do you deem them to be “incompetent?”
          From my view “hamstrung” would be more apt.

          • Because they had such a difficult time matching kids with parents.

            • Bruce J Kent

              I daresay both you and I would too Dan, since a huge percentage of children stopped at our borders are not accompanied by their parents; they are shills used by coyotes as to facilitate the entry into our country of adults. Pawns if you will.

              • A “huge percentage”? Please cite actual facts.

              • Russell Gontar

                You have mixed up those arriving at the borders, who are often FLEEING FOR THEIR LIVES AND ARE INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED AS REFUGEES with the children, including infants, who were forceably taken away from their parents by ICE (kidnapped, in other words) and then subsequently lost. The number you’re looking for is 1500 children that the Trump administration stole from their parents and lost track of. That is why they are unable to comply with the court order. God willing, the judge will throw Jeff Sessions in jail until each child is reunited.

                • Bruce J Kent

                  I certainly acknowledge that you are entitled to your own feelings on the subject Russell – just as I am sure you acknowledge mine. (yeah right)

                  FYI – it was Clinton, furthered by both Bush, Jr. and Bathhouse Barry Obama who instituted the current policy that President Trump’s administration is compelled (legally) to enforce. It fits the liberal playbook to blame the entire situation on President Trump, but unfortunately that is not accurate.

                  PS – I think Jeff Sessions is going to be a wonderful addition to SCOTUS.

  5. Bruce J Kent

    Or the short version: because their parents did not make the trip.

  6. Peter Gambaccini

    How wonderful it is to not know some of the people posting here.

  7. Mike Alpert

    This is disgusting and sad and since everyone in this country is either an immigrant, a Native American or a descendent from a slave, we should all be ashamed and we should be clear that this is direct result of Trump policy!

    • Bruce J Kent

      Not a Trump “Policy”………..inherited policy from Clinton, Bush, obama.
      ‘You are entitled to your own set of feelings, but not your own set of facts.’
      (I forget who said that, but apt here)

      • Russell Gontar

        “…the assertion that Trump was implementing the same policy as Obama is “false”, noting “Obama’s immigration policy specifically sought to avoid breaking up families. While some children were separated from their parents under Obama, this was relatively rare and families were quickly reunited even if that meant the release of a parent from detention.”[21] The Obama Administration did consider separating families, but decided against it.

  8. Bob Stalling

    “since everyone in this country is either an immigrant, a Native American or a descendent from a slave”….
    Why did you leave “illegal immigrant” off your list?
    Don’t you care?

  9. Elizabeth Thibault

    There are some people here that are showing very ugly and mean sides of themselves. Pray you never find yourself in dire straights and needing to fall on the mercy of people like yourselves.