Just as many other immigrants, Martha Rodriguez came to America to pursue a brighter future, a future filled with opportunities and stability, a future she couldn’t reach on her country, Venezuela.
She came to the States for the first time a couple days after turning 21, leaving her 4-year-old daughter with her grandmother back in Caracas. “I’d never said ‘goodbye’ to my daughter before. She was screaming my name when I left. It hurt worse than giving birth.”
As soon as she arrived to her cousins’ house in Laredo Texas, she started working as a server at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen.
Martha has been away from her daughter for over five years, missing most of the memorable moments of her growth, many times she feels like she should quit her job and go back to her country to be with her daughter, but she finds the strength to keep working on her supportive co-workers whom had become a second family to Martha through these 9 months.
“To me my job isn’t just a plain & boring job I’ve always loved working here,” she wrote on.
“I guess the only reason why I survived this long without my blood family, my momma and my little Sofia is because of these blessed souls & my best friends out of work.”
But recently, Martha got some surprising news at work.
Martha was working her shift at Cheddar’s when a few off-the-clock co-workers came looking for her.
With the whole team gathered around the kitchen, they made an announcement.
“We all came together as a family because we love you so so so very much,” one co-worker read.
One by one, the co-workers read speeches praising Martha’s hard work and spirit.
“Martha, you do so much for this company and for all of us as a family. You pull doubles and dedicate yourself to this place.”
The team applauded Martha, who had no idea what was coming next.
“You’ve been a great friend to all of us, may God bless you Martha,” her teammate read. “Thank you for being there with the smiles and the support.”
“I wish you the very best. Good luck in your trip home.”
Martha didn’t know what she meant by that last part—she wasn’t planning on going anywhere. But when she saw the white envelope, she suddenly realized what was happening and was overwhelmed.
They chipped in to buy her tickets to visit her daughter!
Martha had been homesick lately, and no doubt her co-workers took notice.
“I miss my mom, my family, my daughter, the food, EVERYTHING & well i talk about it like ALL THE TIME,” Martha explained on Facebook.
But thanks to her work friends, she’ll finally get to visit home after all this time.
“I don’t even know what to say,” she tells them. “I love you all. Thank you guys so much.”
Martha shared the video of her surprise on Facebook, and again expressed her gratitude towards her co-workers for showing the “One Cheddar’s” spirit.
It was a moment she would never forget.
“Thank you my cheddars family for sending me home to my beautiful daughter,” she wrote.
“I love you all so much beyond words can even explain.”