A helping hand

In December 1962 I landed at LA International with my mother and baby brother. We were on our way to San Francisco as my mother had decided that joining my father was best for her children. Through her strength and will, she relocated our family to the United States for better opportunities for our family. She could not afford to travel with four children so she planned to take my brother who was only 12 months old. I was apparently added to the flight because the family feared I would cry myself to death.
The San Francisco airport was closed that night due to fog. My mother had to take two kids and her baggage (all her possessions) to a hotel. There was a young man who saw her struggle and offered to help her. He not only helped her get to the hotel, he was there the next morning to help her get to the airport.
The next morning we landed in San Francisco. It was so cold, there were flurries that night. My dad had a room with a family. We all shared that room. I was taken to a public school a few days later and enrolled in first grade. It was so very cold. Heidi, the daughter of the family where my father rented a room, let me borrow her coat. She was also there that day in the playground to comfort me as I sat crying on a cold bench by myself not understanding a word. I spoke only Spanish.
Within a month we moved to a very small apartment. 1962 was a terribly bad economic year in San Francisco. My parents spoke only Spanish and had a very difficult time getting work. My mother was employed in a factory making drapes. My dad had a hard time finding part time work.
There were times the money was not enough. Al and Moon were the two Chinese men who owned the grocery store and the little place we rented. They were willing to allow my parents credit to buy food for the family. I don’t know how my parents managed.
Why do I tell you this story? Because it forms the basis for my commitment to pay it forward. The man at the airport, the girl who loaned her coat, Al and Moon, all these people had nothing to gain from my parents or me. They did good deeds for someone who needed a helping hand.
That is why I am on the Board of Directors of Infant Crisis Services. It is my turn to give a helping hand to those who need it most, babies who need formula and diapers. So when you think of what you can do for this wonderful organization, remember to help those in need today, they will be back to help others in the future. Every gift of money or time is greatly appreciated and put to good use.

Maria Robles Meyers , Board of Directors