As a former English instructor, I am often asked by friends for help revising their teen-ager’s college entrance essay. Lately, I have received requests to fine-tune resumes of acquaintances who have lost jobs; no surprise in this economy. Once the political campaign season started, I let it be known I was interested in working with candidates running for office.
A Korean-American candidate, running for city council, contacted me and asked me for help with the delivery of a speech announcing his candidacy. I took one look at the speech and said, “Where I can really be of service is helping you write a better speech.” The candidate, who came to this country at the age of 19, had a compelling rags-to-riches story. “Let’s present the movie of your life to the voters,” I told him. To describe his journey, I wrote: “I arrived in Orange County with $200 in my pocket and a suitcase full of dreams.”
Hearing the candidate deliver the speech I’d written for him the night he announced his candidacy was indeed an outstanding moment. “My Peggy Noonan moment,” I tell friends. Today my candidate and his supporters celebrate his victory. That I helped a hard-working immigrant to our country realize his American dream is extremely gratifying.