One afternoon, while helping out at Taller de Jose’s front desk, I answered a phone call from one of our clients. While I had accompanied this particular client to previous appointments and knew her to be a friendly, outgoing and jocular individual, Raquel sounded a bit frantic on the phone. She told me that she had just received a traffic ticket and hoped that someone from our office could be available to accompany her to her court date. I assured Raquel that we would be accompany her and added her name to my own calendar.
On the day of the hearing, I met Raquel at Taller de Jose. While warm and pleasant, as usual, I could see that Raquel was feeling anxious and was preoccupied by her thoughts throughout our commute to the courthouse. When we arrived, I felt especially grateful for Taller de Jose’s accompaniment services and my presence with Raquel that day at court, as none of the court’s documents were in Spanish and the judge presiding over Raquel’s case did not speak Spanish either. When her name was called, Raquel and I approached the judge’s bench. Without much detail, the judge informed Raquel that her ticket had been dismissed!
As we left the courthouse, Raquel began to cry tears of relief. Raquel then shared with me that she had just lost her job the previous day. She told me that she had hardly slept during the night, as she was so overwhelmed by the thought of having to pay an expensive traffic ticket, now that she was without work. As we walked together, Raquel told me more about how her place of employment had suddenly closed. She had gone to work, just the morning before, and discovered a locked building with a notice on the front door announcing the business’s closure. I listened and offered emotional support, as she processed her feelings of sadness, disappointment and fear.
As we rode the “L” train back to Taller de Jose, Raquel was in much better spirits. She seemed to be back to her usual self, talking, laughing and joking with me. On the Pink Line, Raquel and I spoke about her job prospects. Though she knew it would not be easy, Raquel was determined to find work soon and hoped to eventually open her own business. Inspired by her positivity and resiliency, I told her I believed she could do it. I reminded her that Taller de Jose would continue to support and accompany her, as she faces and overcomes this latest challenge in her life.
All stories are based on real clients at Taller de José. Names and images have been changed to protect client privacy.