My husband and I are fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful neighbors, who are year-round residents, in our Florida condominium. To our left, lives a remarkable couple, who just celebrated their 50th anniversary. Like many successful seniors, they came to America from another land and worked tirelessly to secure the American Dream for their children. Their three daughters have all earned college degrees and have been extremely successful.
However, with the economic downturn, one of their daughters was unemployed last year. My neighbor, Maria, approached me while I was walking my dogs and asked if I would consider reviewing her daughter’s resume to see if it could be improved. I work as a grant writer, but while teaching English for 12 years, I always included lesson plans on resume writing, so I had some experience. Later in the day, Maria gave me a Post It size paper containing her daughter’s e-mail address, so that I could introduce myself and encourage her daughter to e-mail me a copy of her resume. When I sat at my computer to write to Maria’s daughter, I struggled to read Maria’s printing. The letters and numbers, comprising the e-mail address, were printed neatly but they were so tiny. Even with my most powerful reading glasses, purchased in bulk from BJ’s, I couldn't make out all of the characters in the handwritten e-mail address. I struggled and came up with the best e-mail address I could manage.
The next day, when I was walking my dog again, I saw Maria. Humbly and gratefully, she inquired about whether I was able to e-mail her daughter. I stuttered a little as I explained that I tried to do so. I said, “Maria, I’m so sorry, but your writing was so very tiny that I could hardly read the address. I sent the e-mail anyway, but honestly, I’m not sure if it went through to the correct address."
Maria, who would rather die than inconvenience anyone, reached for my hand and put the other to her head. “I’m so sorry,” she said with a broken accent. “My daughter, Katerina, told me, 'Momma, make sure when you give Katie the e-mail address that you use only small letters.' So I tried really, really hard to write it as tiny as possible. I even did it two times.”I burst into laughter. I gave Maria a hug and said, “Maria, Katerina meant that you should not use capital letters in the e-mail address--not that you should write really small!” We laughed so hard that my dogs thought we were crazy. Fortunately, Maria's daughter did get a job and all is well.