The Immigrant

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
March 21, 2013

In 1972, I emigrated to America from Italy with my two small children. I had no job and spoke no English. It wasn’t easy finding my way at first, but over the years, I created my own successful housekeeping service. Recently, I was at a new client’s home when the doorbell rang.

“I’m friends with the man who lives here,” the man at the door said. “I’m here to fix his computer.”

“Yes, of course, I was told you might be coming,” I said.

“Are you Italian?” the repairman asked. He must have recognized my accent, one thing that hasn’t changed much over the years.

“Yes,” I answered. We started talking.

“My grandfather was an Italian immigrant,” he said. “If it weren’t for strangers helping him when he arrived here, he wouldn’t have made it. So he did the same for others. He used to drag me and my friend along to help.”

“I know what you mean,” I said. I told him about the time I was standing with my two small children in the arrivals area at the Philadelphia airport. I searched for my husband, Matteo, who I hadn’t seen since he left our hometown of San Paolo, Italy, ten days earlier. He was staying at my cousin’s house and I had telegraphed him my flight details, but he wasn’t there.

Six hours passed. It was night, and the airport was almost empty. My two children, one three, one 14 months old, were hungry and restless. I had no U.S. money, just a few dollars worth of Italian lira. I had my cousin’s address and phone number scrawled on a scrap of paper, but I didn’t know how to use a pay phone.

“Then two teenage boys approached me,” I told the repairman. “I was afraid, and threw my arms around my children. But then the boys asked if I needed help.

“The two spoke just enough Italian to understand me. One headed to a food stand and returned with milk and pastries for my children. The other paid for a limo ride to my cousin’s New Jersey home. Matteo had never received my telegram.

“I wish I could have repaid the boys. One of them said, `Give each of us one of your Italian bills and sign it, so we’ll always remember you.’ I was happy to do so.”

I finished my story, and the man looked at me, stunned. He reached into his pocket and pulled a bill from his wallet. On the back was a faded signature… mine.

By Lucia Cipriano
  1. mike and brandy said:

    brilliant article.


  2. Rosanna Bonaccurso said:

    Loved this!


  3. Lyn said:

    WOW! How absolutely wonderful! Definitely goose bump time


  4. karaybrooke said:



  5. Another feel-good story to start off a feel-good type of day. Thank you for sharing, as always, I always feel better for what I’ve read here. Happy Friday all , stay UPlifted & blessed 🙂


  6. Reblogged this on Laura B Williams Designs and commented:
    I have friends who are immigrants to the US and I ahae watched how difficult their lives have been, But they still want to live here and are very grateful to be in America. This story touched me.


  7. I love this . My mother and grandparents came here from Italy. Could I repost this on my 30 posts of enCOURAGEment series some time?


  8. Lucia is a person, and not an angel, but I was reminded of Hebrews 13:2 to be good to strangers because when we are good to them, we sometimes attend angels unaware.


  9. xcountrypearl said:

    wow. amazing story.


  10. This have me goosebumps. How inspiring Thank you! I will share!


  11. Great story–illustrates the truth of sowing & reaping. Thanks!


  12. Sarah said:

    God is amazing


  13. kimmyg01 said:

    That was such a beautiful story. I look forward every morning to reading this blog.


  14. That was beautiful. There is truly nothing more scary than being in a foreign country, unable to speak the language, and not knowing where to go. When I experienced that, I was merely a tourist, but it would be even more scary if you were immigrating. Thank you for this 🙂


  15. Nogo said:

    WOW! Is this a true story? Because if it is… incredible! God is goood 🙂 Beautiful


  16. Lynette said:

    This is an amazing story!


  17. Reblogged this on D.E. Cantor and commented:
    Reblogging a nice story by Lucia Cipriano from “Morning Story and Dilbert.”


  18. Reblogged this on Boone County CASA and commented:
    We loved this! This is a great example of “what goes around comes around” in the best light. Thank you, Morning Story and Dilbert for sharing this and for liking our ‘Love Them Anyway’ post.
    CASA serves all children; those born here, raised here, and immigrated here. No matter what language they speak or what backgrounds they have, any and all court involved abused/neglected children in Boone County receive the services of a CASA advocate.


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