Gratitude and Perspective

last night, I went out for  a walk. There was a man with a bicycle, sitting on the curb down the road a piece. He saw me, waved, and called out “Excuse me, sir!”

I waved back, and he got up and came, pushing his bike over. I thought “great, what kind of amazing bullshit does this guy have to offer.”

As he walked towards me, he said he was waiting for this guy with a noisy car. (My neighbor across the street) Then he asked, with wonder and awe, “Have you ever”, he said, “filled out a form?” I iformedd him that I had indeed filled out a few forms in my life.

It turns out, that he was trying to fill out a work permit renewal form for Cayman Islands Immigration, and basically, he couldn’t read. 

So I helped him fill out the form, he had his passport, and I showed him  went in each of the blanks. Explained to him why “Maiden name” stayed blank, and had to explain extensively what a maiden name was. 

He had his passport with him and I read his passport number to him as he struggled to write it down in the tiny blank. 

I told him how to spell his wife’s name. He didn’t know. Of course, he knew her name, but couldn’t spell it.

He made cryptic marks on the top of some of the sheets. “This sheet get’s filled in by the immigration office” I told him, he made a mark that looked kind of like a C. “This is a checklist of everything you need to turn in with the form”. He made a mark that looked like a cross between a F and a S. I read the list, which inlcuded several fees. “Oh Lord Jesus, how am I ever going to get this done?” looking up at the sky. “This page gets filled in by your employer, and asks questions on pension, insurance and housing”, another cryptic squiggle at the top. 

At the end of it all, on the nearly final blank, “occupation”,he said he said he was a gardner, but his new job was going to be a janitor. I told him I thought that getting a new job would require him to have a new work permit, not a renewal. He looked up at the sky, Oh Lord Jesused again and seemed really worried. I told him to leave it blank, and ask his boss.

He was working for the guy across the street, (the one with the noisy car). I guess my neighbor was supposed to help with the form, but didn’t show up.

I felt sorry for the guy, worried about this form, work permit, and wether he can even stay on the island. I felt sorry for him not knowing how to spell his wife’s name. Great big giant strong guy.

I realized from all this, that even on my worst day, I’m still lucky. I walked outside for a five minute walk, and spent probably an hour helping the guy fill in his form.

My wife said it was nice of me.

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