Unreliable Transportation for an Agricultural Worker Struggling with Social Security
Main Participant"X" Anonymous Agricultural Worker
Colorado County & RegionAlamosa County, San Luis Valley , Rodriguez Camp- Fresh Harvest in Center, SLV
I met “X” at one of our H2A workers events. He approached me asking to help make an appointment with Social Security. I tried for 3 weeks but there no answer trying to get ahold of the Social Security office. Then X calls me one afternoon I apologize as I have no response. He told me he needed a ride to Center, CO – he had missed his ride. I attempted to see if anyone was going that direction and could take him. But no luck - I took him. It is hard to get out to Alamosa as transportation is hard to find sometimes. On occasion the campero will take some people but he is always busy, so it is rare.
2nd occasion: I got his appointment and double checked that his paperwork was good to go with the immigrant resource center in town. I offered me or a community organizer to take him but he decided to asked the campero first to take him and he agreed. The appointment was at 12:30pm, so I contacted him to double check at 11:00am he was on board and with papers ready to go. At 11:30 he send me message saying “Campero cancel” and told him he was very busy to reschedule appointment any day of the week except Thursdays or Fridays. X missed the appointment.
Matters worsted: He is notified he is on the list to go back home the following week. He was confused “was this just luck or did making the appointment with SS messed him up?” He called me to vent and ask advise. I suggested for him to double check why he was being send back home and to request to stay. He did so, the answer was “you are on the list, for going back” no explanation as of why.
X asked me one más favor - to bring him to Alamosa to buy some phones for family. We learned about T-Mobil’s two lines and free phones for $80 $ 40 a month - not bad! He did not want someone else to take him, he said he felt safe with me which leads me to:
One worker- From Center to Alamosa: In numbers 4 hours including taking him to phone store and translating. I took him around Alamosa to show him, stopped at Walmart and took him to get food. There he shared with me that paying for food was expensive in Center. Sometimes going alone to a restaurant was $18 per meal- he would go when bored from food at the camp which he already pays like $10 a day.
This outreach costed PPPN around $150-$200. If we had a van and schedule we would be making a huge difference not for one but for many more and for the same price. So bus transportation and perhaps good food catering would be life changing changes at this location (Rodriguez Camp- Fresh Harvest in Center)
X was very, very grateful, offered to pay for gas but of course I declined - He said- if the group ever need anything count on me.