I was downtown today and a man, with his wife and two children, timidly approached me to see if they could trade a dollar bill for some change.
He explained that he and his family were were there to take the US Citizenship Oath and had forgotten change for the parking meters.
I was annoyed. NOT AT THE NEW US CITIZENS, but at the government for not providing some free parking for folks doing one of the most momentous things of their life. “You can become a US Citizen, but only if you put 50 cents into a parking meter…”
I pulled out enough change to pay up the parking meter to its 3 hour maximum time, put it into the meter, congratulated the family and told them this was the least I could do for them.
And then I asked if I could come watch while they recited the citizenship oath. Both the man and woman showed a huge smile and said “Yes”. The emotion behind the “Yes” reminded me of the two times I proposed to my girlfriends. .
I had expected the ceremony to be much more ornate. After the man explained that I was there to watch, we were led into a room that could have been either a classroom or courtroom.
As the man and his wife recited the oath, I could see the tears in their eyes. It was also very obvious that the man administering the oath greatly enjoyed this duty.
You know what? I had tears in my eyes too.
Thank You. You are part of what makes this country great.