A suspicious, cynical mind like mine doesn’t let go of things easily. So, while President Obama was brushing off the importance of his 100th day in office by flying around the country and preempting prime time, sweeps week TV, I was thinking back to an earlier carnival sideshow—the Florida town hall meeting.
Oh, you remember: Henrietta Hughes’ tearful plea for the satisfaction of her “urgent needs”? Julio Osegueda’s prayer for major medical and dental? Coming back to you now? Yeah, me too. Like a refried bean burrito.
Things are still tough for Ms. Hughes:
Henrietta Hughes is still struggling to make ends meet.
Unemployed and homeless, she caught national attention during President Obama’s visit to Fort Myers when she asked for his help. After her plea, Hughes was given a free place to stay, but she still can’t find a job and may soon find herself homeless again.
Though she hasn’t had to pay rent, Henrietta says she hasn’t saved much money either. Her bills are often more than her income. Now she’s praying her story ends how she hoped it would. “Get a job and get on to do things that I decide to do,” she said.
Henrietta does have a job interview on Monday to do administrative work at a local hospital. She’s hoping some of the computer skills she was learning help her get the job.
In this economy, there are a lot of Henrietta Hughes, unfortunately, so I don’t know how lucky she’ll be. The story does say she and her son Corey have applied for many jobs already, but without success. I must say I find that odd: she was a celebrity, and touched hearts around the nation and the world—and no one will hire her to answer the phone or open the mail? Why, do you suppose?
Julio is more of a success story, thank goodness:
For one night, Julio Osegueda forgot about flipping burgers and studying for his college tests. He was consumed by double plays, base hits, strikeouts and batting averages.
His nerves were calm and excitement was high Friday night in his debut as a color commentator at the Fort Myers Miracle’s season opener against the Charlotte Stone Crabs.
“It went great,” said Osegueda, 19, of Cape Coral. “It was a great experience and a good opportunity.”
The Miracle offered Osegueda the chance to kick off his broadcast career after he gained national attention in February at President Barack Obama’s town hall meeting in Fort Myers. Osegueda, who has worked at a Cape Coral McDonald’s for four and a half years, asked the president if he would ever get better benefits.
Two months later, Osegueda put his knowledge of team rosters and stats to the test alongside Miracle play-by-play announcer Zach Spear.
“I was really impressed with his preparation for one thing,” said Spear, 23. “I think his voice is good, and he has a good energy. … He really enjoyed himself.”
I hope so. Because it sounds like that’s all he’s going to get:
Gary Sharp, media relations director and promotions manager for the Miracle, said Osegueda was everything the team expected.
“He was entertaining and interesting, and we thought it was a success,” he said.
While it’s always a possibility Osegueda could be invited back to broadcast with the Miracle, Sharp hopes the opportunity helps him further his career as a disc jockey or radio personality.
In other words, don’t call us, we’ll call you—and we’ll take fries with that.
But I don’t bring up these epilogues to well-known stories merely to humiliate these two private (ha!) citizens. I cite them as exhibits A and B of the failure of handouts. I don’t know whether Henrietta and her son are grifters, as one blogger claimed, but they’ve been living off the dole and private charity for years. Years. And while Julio would appear to have more upside, he, too, will actually have to make something of himself.
Both were touched by the divine, yet both remain anchored to the ground. Does anyone else find that curious—and, more to the point, instructive?