“Look at people for who they are inside, and respect everyone, not for what they look like on the outside; and don’t judge by clothing, job or looks.”
The day was ending, and even though the weather was screaming of an on-coming rainstorm, the coastal streets of Santa Monica were vibrant with activity. I’d been working in the neighboring Culver City all day, casting for a project I was directing the following week, and as I traveled home, an end of day pit stop in the busy area of locals, transplants, tourist and travelers was a worthy destination to find a unique friend for that day.
The sun was setting fast and as I hurried to park my car, and not wanting to loose the dusk light, I readied myself for a sprint to the crowds on the streets below. Seemed that in the luck of the draw, slip number one zillion, on level eight, was the only open space to be found for parking.
Leaning on my precision driving skills, or lack there of, I veered in at G-forces that were perhaps a little excessive, but a man has to have a bit fun every one and a while, doesn’t he?
Seemed safe to do at the time, the lot was empty of people, or at least I thought. Getting out of the car I realized I was alone in my speed racing moment. Walking towards me was a man who seemed to be in a rush of his own.
I thought, “Stay out of his path, he looks like is has someplace to go, and wherever it is, he needs to get there in a hurry!”
But in a spark of thought, that line of reason was extinguished as I reached out with a simple, Hello.
That hello led to a kind gesture returned, and that kind gesture to a brief conversation in which I invited my new friend, refrigeration repairman Gaetaio, the author of the opening quote, to join us in 365.
A transplant to United States from Sicily, Gaetiao spoke of his reasoning for coming to America. “I’m a mafia refuge.” He smiled.
Really? A mafia refuge? I inquired.
Gaetiao smiled again, “I’m just kidding about the mafia, but it is very difficult to get a job in Sicily unless you know someone. That is what I mean by my joke. Every day I was working very hard for a better life, and I did not like the rules. If you needed a job, it was about who you knew, not what you could do or who you were; and in a way, I guess it is a little of the same everywhere. They change the music, but the rhythm is still the same.”
Gaetiao talked about the future, “The most important thing that I want to tell the world is to respect everyone, the planet and everything. Nobody talks for real peace, everyone tries to fix the problem, but the way they are doing it is creating more problems. We need to show more open hand than the fist.”
“Are we getting close to being finished?” Gaetiao asked, “I have to finish a job I’m working on.”
Ah, I understood his rushed pace through the parking structure.
All wrapped up, I responded, we just need to grab a few snap shots and you’re free.
The light was kind to us, perfect for a quick photo shoot. Mother Nature was apparently watching our backs. Her light making it easy to conclude with three final minutes of picture-taking, and then, Gaetiao was off to work.
Gaetiao, we welcome the hand shake that day, and we’re with you, “We need to show more open hand than the fist.”