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A Story about Guillermo

December 25, 2016

Last night was the first night of Chanukah and also Christmas Eve. For various reasons including illnesses in the family, my wife and I ate dinner at a local restaurant that we frequent.

Guillermo (not his real name) was there. He has been a busboy at that restaurant for many years.

In my mind, the term “busboy” is demeaning, especially for a person like Guillermo who is perhaps in his 40s or 50s.

But I suppose “busboy” is the job description for such an unskilled laborer who assists the waiters, clears the dishes and cleans and sets the tables.

It is likely a minimum wage job.

I do not know much about Guillermo except that I know he works at several restaurants and has two or three jobs concurrently to support himself and his family. I have seen him elsewhere.

I do not know his immigration status and it is none of my business, although I certainly fear for him now that things have changed politically.

Guillermo is one of the hardest workers I have ever come across. He is quick, efficient and diligent, respectful of customers, and so industrious and dedicated to his job.

At the end of the meal, I approached Guillermo privately, as I have done in past Decembers, and discreetly handed him some cash, wishing him a Merry Christmas.

“I always appreciate how hard you work,” I said to him.

I received a huge smile and a warm embrace in return.

In Wikipedia, the concept of dignity expresses “the idea that a being has an innate right to be valued, respected, and to receive ethical treatment.” See,

I suppose that is the moral of this story.


David I. Karp is a full time independent mediator of real estate and business disputes in Southern California. His website is at .


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