Omar is originally from Jamaica and exudes this very positive vibe. A musician, he sings and plays island music, but listens to just about anything that interests him. For several years he traveled with a circus in the U.S. and was responsible for the care of the horses, goats, and wolves. Of all the jobs he’s held, Omar said that was his favorite. He knew the animals depended on him and he was energized, not burdened, by that responsibility. Omar noted that even cleaning the stalls was enjoyable because he knew the animals appreciated it and they deserved the best he could provide. Not many folks would view that work assignment such a manner. Maybe that’s why the owner of the circus kept giving him more responsibility and asked him back each season.
Though he loved the job, life on the road was pretty demanding and it was hard to be away from home for months at a time, so he left the circus and has been working odd jobs until he can find something permanent. One of Mom’s neighbors suggested that Omar would be a good person to help her with the projects she can no longer perform around the house. At 89, Mom lives independently and still drives. She’s had her fair share of bad experiences with handymen, so I’m always a bit on edge when I get a call saying she’s found a new one.
Omar has been a blessing in Mom’s life and, when we first met, he was quick to add that she has been a blessing in his. They help each other. There is kindness and support in their interactions. Omar has been without a car recently and one of his jobs, which is several miles from home, starts at 4:00 P.M. To help him avoid afternoon traffic, Mom drives to Omar’s home, opens the hatch on her Prius to stow his bike, and takes him to work. I don’t have a solution to the growing racial tension in the U.S., but for an elderly white lady from the Midwest and a man of color from Jamaica, respect, trust, a willingness to help, and a desire to see the other person prosper, appear to be the cornerstones for great relations.
A new auto dealership is about to open near where he lives and Omar went to their job fair to apply for employment. He happened to get an interview with one of the owners, who asked, “What kind of a position are you looking for?” Omar answered, “Washing and detailing.” When the owner told him that not many applicants are looking to do that work, Omar commented, “I want to learn all about the business and I think that will be a good place to start.” I hope the folks at the dealership are smart enough to hire him.