My Vietnamese Dry-Cleaning Lady Said

American Writer by Dr. Pietro Savo

No free chickens for you, go get a job, grow your own chickens, and eat. Three decades ago, my Vietnamese dry cleaner came to this country. She reminded me that there were no handouts, there were no free chickens, there was no eating, unless you were willing to take terrible jobs and worked very long hours at these terrible jobs, and we did not know they were terrible jobs she would say! We were very happy to have these jobs, because they allowed us to buy chickens and grow our own chickens.There were no jobs for us unless we spoke English. There was no driver’s license unless we spoke English. Life is hard, there are no free rides, she would say!

She works Monday through Saturday at her amazing dry cleaning store. She is the owner and the only employee as well. Occasionally, her children are there to help, but after all their school work is done, and she has four children, her oldest son joined the US Army after graduating from high school. This American son, his connection to our country runs red, white and blue deep in his patriotic veins.

Her education is the American school of hard knocks and she speaks very proudly of that education. Her voice becomes low and emotional; the American Dream is my life, no other life matters because my children and husband are part of this dream. My husband she said, with a huge smile; “I love him to death”; he knows it, and he works very hard at his job too. This immigrant works very hard at the American dream, disseminating into the American culture, and still keeping her own culture, is that not the American dream we all seek?

Sunday is a day off, a family time to enjoy their own chicken, and from this chicken many meals result, chicken sandwiches during the week, and the ever so American chicken soup, no part of this valuable chicken is wasted. Soon it is Monday once again, back to working long hours to live and grow chickens and the American dream.

My Vietnamese dry-cleaning lady said; “today it makes me mad when people come to this country, and they want something for free. There was no free for me, she would say.” It seems that the life, the common stories of the immigrants of the past no longer exist today. Hard work dedication to a country, family and to grow your own chickens is the American dream worth holding onto and pursuing once again.

by AMERICAN WRITER Dr. Pietro Savo Tradition Books Publication © 2011


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About Dr. Pietro Savo

Dr. Pietro (Pete) Savo is a Principal Consultant with over 28 years of diverse experience in Business Strategy Improvement (BSI), Leadership Development, Operations, Engineering, Manufacturing, Quality Systems, Material Management, Supply Chain, Union Shop and consulting environments. Pietro created the term Manufacturing Research Practitioner ™ as the foundation for his Doctoral thesis dedicated to improving the United States Manufacturing Industry.  Dr. Savo has lectured at, Boeing Aircraft, Lockheed Martin, Rolls Royce, Northup Grumman, Raytheon and United Technologies on various subjects such as Lean Thinking, Leadership, Team Building, Quality Systems ISO Registrar Selection and Root Cause Analysis. Taught Root Cause Analysis for American Society for Quality (ASQ). Customized Training Specialties Leadership & Culture & Conflict Resolution Made Simple Root Cause Analysis (RCA) Problem Solving & Mistake-Proof It! Lean Manufacturing & The 6S's: Workplace Organization Evolving Quality Systems ISO 9001:2000/AS 9100:2000 Industry Evolution Building Business with the United States Government and Prime Contractors New Project Bidding Team Improvement Training “Know Your Front End” Published: Root Cause Analysis System for Problem Solving and Problem Avoidance Published: PERFECTION - 10 Secrets to Successful Lean Manufacturing Implementation. United States Navy Veteran View all posts by Dr. Pietro Savo

One response to “My Vietnamese Dry-Cleaning Lady Said

  • David Singhiser

    My foster brother is Vietnamese. He came alone when he was 15 years old. Through a series of event he ended up living with us. The government didn’t help. My mother did a lot for him on her own. She gained a son and he gained a mother.

    I have other Vietnamese friends who were helped by Americans, but Americans who helped on their own, through churches and other charities. Some of those Americans and Vietnamese families became life long friends.

    None of that happens through government programs. They only cause resentment and feelings of entitlement and never deep friendships.

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