You never know.
You never know someone else’s story.
Where they came from.
How they got here.
At least not until you ask.
An interesting thing happened in the days after the election.
For years, I have been passing through security at the federal building on my way to the immigration service.
The station is usually manned by three big white dudes.
They are always cordial, but they are usually talking about guns and/or hunting.
I figured that I knew for sure how they had voted.
The main security guard is a huge white guy with a loud voice.
I had seen him for years, but had never actually asked him his name.
The morning after the election, I introduced myself as Jim.
He knew that I was an immigration lawyer.
He said his name was Eric.
For the next couple of days, I would check in and say hello to Eric.
He would say hello to Jim.
On the fourth day, he said, “you know, I really respect what you do.”
He told me that his parents were both immigrants and that he was a first generation American.
I was floored. I had figured he was a good old boy from Jefferson County.
I laughed to myself thinking that I had been racially profiling the security guards at the federal building.
Eric and I have had several more good talks since then.
It all started by introducing myself.
An actual conversation.
With live people.
Not on our phones.
Who can I introduce myself to today?