Take a good look. What do you see?
With a quick glance you’ll see a makeshift fruit stand built on the back of a white truck, something you normally wouldn’t give a second thought on your way to work, school, wherever. After all, it’s merely a speck, an insignificant piece, of your field of vision—so you pass by it, continuing the course of your day.
That’s what I did for two years.
I passed by this same fruit stand time after time and never have I really seen the stand. I only looked at it from behind the window of my mom’s car because it was simply something that I had to pass everyday on my way to school.
That is until one day I walked past it in order to pick my sister up from her friend’s house. Only then, did I really see it.
What I saw was interesting; I saw how much work was put into building this monstrosity of a stand. The roof was made out of cardboard boxes and the frame of that held them was put together with only two tools: hands and a hammer.
From the looks of it, it took hard work and dedication to put this together.
But then I looked even closer: past the fruits, past the cardboard, past the truck…
and met the man behind it all.
This man dedicated the last six years of his life to his fruit-stand in order to bring home enough money to pay the bills. If he wants to make enough, he has to endure the extreme weathers of Miami: the suffocating humidity, the scorching sun, and the unpredictable rain.
The intensity of Miami’s weather—particularly the rays of the sun—is embedded in the tan leathered skin of the fruit merchant.
Despite this, he carries himself in a jolly manner. He greets every customer with a smile whilst his body begs for rest after a long day’s work. Which is why I decided to approach him and ask him about his day. Immediately, I was consumed by his warmth.
His eyes lit up as he began to speak rapidly and passionately about his stand. In fact, he gave me a brief tour of the truck: the front, the back, the inside, and the land around it. He even showed me a garden he grew nearby.
“Es simbólico,” he told me, as I studied the garden. He said that people should make the effort to make their communities beautiful; so he led by example. Symbolic indeed.
However, his efforts—his hard work and dedication—is sometimes repaid by greed and violence. Five times he has been robbed. Five times his life and merchandise was at stake.
These are his daily struggles, the things that I overlooked when I merely glanced at the fruit stand from inside my mother’s car. I was only looking at the surface, unaware of what lay underneath—a valiant man and his precious fruit stand.