[This was a story written by Gary Gerard Hamilton]
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been looking for Baron, my favorite custodial worker here at Yankee Stadium; not actively going around searching for him, but anticipating running into him. A Dominican man, probably in his late-fifties or early-sixties with a short beard as white as Santa’s, I’d generally see him early in the mornings when I’m walking into our office, although at times he’s already finished his tasks before we get in. Although his English was less than fluent but very understandable, he’d always make sure to say hello or get my attention whenever I’d see him inside the stadium away from our area.
I found out yesterday that I hadn’t seen him because he’s been deported by ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and sent back to his native Dominican Republic under the ramped up orders by President Trump.
Baron has lived here in New York for decades, making an honest living—emptying trash bins, cleaning desk tops, wiping of giant, 20-foot Yankees posters in the Great Hall, etc. It’s his home, and all he’s known for decades. Through the work grapevine, I heard he was sent back because he “didn’t take care of something 20 years ago”.
He was at work one day, until he wasn’t. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye…no “good luck”…no, “I’m sorry”…just gone in a blink of an eye. And while I didn’t know him well at all, there’s a sense of disbelief, despite us seeing this type of event on the news frequently now.
The news media, which I’ve been a part of before and will most likely be a part of again, tends to only show high profile cases of deportations. While watching a story of a Michigan doctor being deported, Jenn made a significant comment to me: “Why does the news only highlight these cases of people they think have important jobs?” (I know the answer.) “And why do they always think a person’s profession equals their value as a person and well as their character? Meaning, if they’re a doctor, then they must be a ‘good person’”?
To most, Baron’s story isn’t that interesting. If I’m truthful with myself, I wouldn’t even pitch it in a morning news meeting because it wouldn’t make “great TV”. But he’s a person—a man with a life who didn’t bother anyone (as far as I witnessed), and one who has people that care about him.
If I feel this way about most likely never seeing him again and not being able to wish him well (and I barely knew him), then how are his family, close friends and loved ones supposed to cope?
*Please share this story as it’s an important one. Feel free to like the page if you want to read stories about the Dominican community not just here in NYC, but across the USA as well.*