A scan of the Father’s Day Prayer Card that Romero gave to me.
By Richard Mabey Jr.
It was January of 2014, when I was working at the southernmost section of Gated Community, that I first met Romero. This was a section of Gated Community that was under construction at the time. At that time, I began my shift at six in the morning. Sometime between six and quarter past six, Romero would drive by my Gate House.
Romero was all of 19. He once told me his age. He was from Mexico. He worked as a Laborer on the section where they were building new homes. Romero had a Crucifix hanging from the rearview mirror on his windshield. He had a Holy Bible wedged between the windshield and the dashboard, on the driver’s side of his pick-up truck.
Romero and I got to be friends. He would stop and talk to me about life in general. I remember how his face would light up when he would talk about his girlfriend, Maria. Well, one early Friday morning, Romero stopped at my Gate House and announced that he was going to ask Maria to marry him on Saturday night.
I asked Romero if he talked to Maria’s dad yet. He told me that he had gotten permission from Maria’s father, to ask Maria to marry him. Romero was so excited. He was nervous, anxious as to how Maria would respond to his proposal. I told Romero that I would pray for him. He smiled, waved goodbye and drove off to his work site.
Monday morning came. Romero drove up in his old pick-up truck. He didn’t have to say a word. I could tell by the expression on his face, what had happened. With tears in his eyes, Romero told me that Maria had turned him down. I told Romero that I was truly sorry. I simply told him not to give up. That if he truly loved Maria, to not be discouraged.
Sadly, within a month or so, Romero and Maria broke up. I felt his pain. I felt like I was looking at myself when I was his age. Here we were from different cultures, we were of different generations, still I felt the pain that this fine young man was enduring.
I counseled Romero as well as I could, in his early morning three-minute stops to my Gate House. I remember that I told him that there were plenty of fish in the sea. I told him that any young lady would consider herself honored to go out with him. I knew it did little to comfort him. But still, I did my best to bring hope to his heart.
The Friday before Father’s Day came. Romero drove up to my Gate House in his old pick-up truck. He handed me the very card that I have scanned on the top of this blog. He simply said to me, “Mr. Richard, this is for you. A gift for you.”
The card was a Father’s Cay Prayer Card. It stated that I would be prayed for on the upcoming Father’s Day Mass at Romero’s church. I was deeply honored. I told Romero that the good Lord had not graced me to be a father. Romero’s reply dearly touched my heart.
Romero simply said, “Mr. Richard, you like a father to me.”
I nearly cried. I got choked up. I thanked Romero. He smiled. He drove off to his work site.
In the early fall of that year I got transferred to one of the Gate Houses in the northern section of Gated Community. It’s the very Gate House that I now work at. After I got transferred, I never saw Romero again. I never got his phone number or asked him if he had an email address. I had only gotten a few days notice of my transfer. It’s just the way life is at times.
I think of Romero from time to time. Somehow and someway I made an impact on his life, hopefully for the better. I know that Romero had a positive affect upon my life. I often wonder how he is doing.