We met Alvaro Garcia a couple of years ago when we rented an apartment in Houston. It all started with a nod. I walked to the dumpster and this wonderful, smiling Hispanic man nodded at me. I spoke. From then on, we always had a smile or a wave for each other.
When we were transferred to Beaumont in 2008 our paths crossed again. Alvaro was there too. I remembered his sweet face and he remembered us. We did more than nod and wave--this time we talked, like old friends who hadn't seen each other in awhile. We seemed to have a lot of catching up to do. Alvaro zoomed around the apartment complex in a golf cart, answering calls and needs when things broke down. He was a conscientious worker who took great pride in what he did. Every time we passed in the parking lot, he on his little white cart and me in my CRV, we'd wave like teens passing in the halls at school. Over and over and over again, waves and smiles. Several times I'd come in from the grocery store and Alvaro would zoom up beside me.
"Can I help you carry the bags inside?" he'd ask.
I'd always say no--he didn't need to be waiting on me--but then we'd stand and talk for ten, fifteen or twenty minutes. I struggled to understand -- his accent was thick, and I'm sure he had trouble with my southern diction. Didn't matter. We enjoyed visiting and getting to know each other.
Ever meet someone who seems happy to the very core of his soul? That's the way I saw Alvaro Garcia. His smile was genuine and contagious. His joy was authentic. He worked hard, and he actually seemed to like working hard. So when he became dissatisfied with his job, it seemed only natural that we would help him find work elsewhere...and that elsewhere was with us at a refinery in Beaumont.
I still remember how my stomach knotted when he motioned toward his little white car and told me he planned to commute to work every day. Premonition? No, probably just my own fear of traveling that treacherous I-10 on a daily basis. Those of you who have been praying for Alvaro know the rest of the story; he was hit by an 18-wheeler.
I just wanted to share how special this man is to me. For no other reason than he brought joy into my life when he breezed by in his little white golf cart, smiled and waved. For no other reason than he stopped to chat and offer to carry my groceries. For no other reason than he asked how I was doing every day. I can't think of him without crying. I can't help but feel a little responsible that he was traveling to Beaumont from Houston that day with snow and ice on the highways. You see, that's how dedicated he was to his work. He wouldn't be late or play hookey for any reason. Which is the very reason my husband hired him. Alvaro Garcia could be trusted to do his job and do it well. How many people do you know with such dedication? I only know two: Alvaro Garcia and my husband. :)
God has answered our prayers. He's saved our friend. But please don't quit praying. I have no idea if Alvaro will be able to work again, but I'm asking God for a complete healing inside and out. I want to see this man smile again, laugh aloud, and recapture his joy. And when he does, I want to take a picture of him so you can see it too. I want to show you his kind face, not an empty golf cart.
Salmos 62:8 (Reina-Valera 1960)
Esperad en él en todo tiempo, oh pueblos; Derramad delante de él vuestro corazón; Dios es nuestro refugio. Selah
Psalm 62:8 (The Message)
My help and glory are in
God—granite-strength and safe-harbor-God—
So trust him absolutely, people;
lay your lives on the line for him.
God is a safe place to be.
Psalm 62:8 (King James Version)
Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.
No matter how we say it (or not) it's true.