A Heartwarming Account

I received an interesting and unusual call out of the blue the other day. A woman left a message asking if I know Rodrigo Lopez. 

LD (for anonymity, we’ll just use her initials) said she had read about Rodrigo Lopez in the SF Chronicle. He had been impacted severely by the recent pandemic. She was moved by his story and wanted to help, but she was not able to find him. She had contacted the author of the story. That yielded no results, so she tried the photographer. Still no luck. 

Undaunted, LD went online to search for him, to see if she could find contact information. Such determination! The only thing she found was my vendor list, available online. Rodrigo Lopez is listed as one of my preferred vendors.

She called and asked me about him. I told her I know of a Rodrigo Lopez; he does some work for me when I prepare listings. Mostly I have used him for hauling debris from homes. I had no idea if this was the person from her story. I took her contact information and reassured her that I would reach out to my contact, and get back to her.

I called the number I have for Rodrigo, but got no response.  I couldn’t leave a message. So I texted. I heard back finally, and he said he would call me the next day, but he didn’t. I finally heard from him the following day. Once in touch, I asked if Rodrigo had been in the newspaper. It turns out, he had been. 

As the story goes, Rodrigo was evicted this year, along with his family, from a garage that was knocked down to make way for a development. He found a studio apartment to live in. Thinking things would work out, suddenly his work dried up.  Corona virus had shut down construction projects. Then, he contracted COVID-19 himself and was hospitalized. He has since recovered from the Corona Virus, but without work, he has no money for rent or to feed his family. The Chronicle had met up with him at the Food Bank while doing a story of those impacted. 

After the story ran, Rodrigo developed another problem. The reason he couldn’t talk to me right away was that he was in the hospital having his gall bladder removed. 

I was truly saddened to hear Rodrigo’s plight. I had no idea he was going through these struggles. I called LD. I told her his story and gave his contact information. She has since gotten in touch with Rodrigo and arranged assistance for him. I have also contributed. We are hoping Rodrigo can make a full recovery, and get back to working to support his family. I will be keeping in touch. Rodrigo is not looking for further financial assistance; he simply wants to get back to work. He, too, is very determined.

This story is not about Rodrigo. It is not about LD either, or about me. It is about us. Our community. While there are many tragic accounts going on about us, it is so inspiring to know that individuals out there are striving to contribute and make a difference. Sometimes, someone who is close to you may be in greater need than you realize. It’s a great time to reach out to those around you. LD took it upon herself to read a news story, research the casualties, find connections, and finally to contribute directly for support. Not all heroes wear capes.

I am including a link to the Chronicle story here. I hope those around you are safe and loved. Also, please reach out to me if you or a loved one is in need of assistance. I am there for you.

If you would like to donate, here is a link to the Second Harvest Food Bank. 

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This post was written by Rumana Jabeen

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