today is nov 7th, 2008. barack obama is the president elect. since tuesday i have been reflecting on my dad. john travers was blue collar working man, he was a husband and a dad who was and still is my hero. he is not alive to experience this inspiring time in our history but i think he gets some credit for how far we have come.
you see, during his wake a man came up to me wanting to share a story about my dad. in the sixties they worked together as welders at general dynamics shipyard in quincy. this man, his wife and a friend had escaped from communist hungary. they made their way to scituate. the man and his friend rode their bicycles from scituate to quincy everyday, often working from 7am until 7pm. as winter approached my dad asked if they would like to ride with him. he felt that riding to and from work along dark, winding road was dangerous. the men gratefully accepted the offer. i knew about this since they insisted on riding their bikes to our house. what comes next i never knew.
when coworkers realized that my dad was riding to work with and friends wiht these two men they became upset. the coworkes pulled my dad aside and told him he should not be associating with “commies”. he told them the men were not communist in fact had escaped from communist hungary. the coworkers were un swayed and told my dad that he would no longer be their friend if he continued to drive his hungarian friends to work. he simply told them that he had to do what was right. and helping others is the right thing to do.
the three men rode to work together everyday for years. most of my dad’s coworkers stopped speaking to him or having coffee or lunch with him. the hungarian men told me that my dad said that good people had helped his irish immigrant parents, now he was passing that along. the hungarian men were eventually able to purchase homes and cars. they became citizens and made lives here.
the man who told me this story at my dad’s wake had tears in his eyes. he said that they were able to rebuild their lives thanks to the kindness of my dad. and when they tried to give him gas money he refused, he aked them to pay it forward before the concept was known. my dad was their hero, too.
the world is a better place because people like my dad knew what was just and did what was just. i am such a fortunate daughter, if john travers was not my dad i would want him for a friend. he was an everyday hero – many of them walk among us – this i believe.