HeartNote, March 6, 2019: Anna

Updated: Mar 7, 2019

There is a young woman named Anna that works at my wife's restaurant. She helps with washing the dishes and waiting on tables on the weekend.

Her father and mother are the restaurant's cook and dishwasher, respectively, and Anna works on the weekends to make money for college.

She is in her third year at the University of California, Riverside. She is Pre-Med. She drives from her home in Escondido and back every day. Depending on the traffic, it's two hours each way.

Her parents are first generation migrants from Mexico. Anna was born here.

To be with Anna is to stand in the presence of strength. She gets that from her parents. Her father, Berto, works every single day at the restaurant. He starts at 5am. When he's done, usually around 2 o'clock, he starts another job that begins at 3 and lasts until 10. He gets some sleep and starts again. He doesn't take days off. He says, "I like to keep going."

Maria, his wife, works as a dishwasher. Having helped her on many a Sunday, I can tell you first hand how difficult that job can be. It is non-stop. You sprint through washing, loading, unloading, putting away, and getting another bin. From 5 to 2. Then you clean the sinks, vacuum the restaurant and clean the bathrooms.

Maria takes Thursday off. She and Berto have a daughter, eight years old, who is suffering from Cystic Fibrosis. She keeps Thursday open to schedule her child's doctor's appointments.

It was this child that in part made Anna decide to become a physician. Anna doesn't know what kind specialty she wants to concentrate on in medical school, but her first answer was "pediatrics." Her sister will, I'm sure, be grateful for this decision.

Throughout the life of these essays, I will be keeping you updated about her progress. I cannot think of anyone who deserves our support as much as this young woman. She is the example of persistence, toughness, and perseverance. Anna, obviously, gets this from her Mom and Dad.

I tried to get Anna to comment on this essay, but she's at school studying and she's got a long ride back. She'll study more tonight, and get ready for the long ride back to school tomorrow. She won't have much time to talk. Lucky for us, she'll be concentrating on her studies.


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