This little girl found a creative way to help her father face the pandemic's economic crisis.
Although the pandemic isn’t over yet, its impact on the world’s economy has been catastrophic already. Millions of people worldwide have lost their jobs or have experienced a severe reduction in income.
Among them was Gustavo Díaz, a husband and father from a suburb of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He’d been working in the fields for an agricultural cooperative, and his wife was working as a maid in three homes. With pandemic restrictions on the couple’s activities, he lost his job and she suffered a significant decrease in her income.
After his story went viral, Gustavo told Infobae that he had started going house to house each morning, looking for work doing jobs such as gardening and mowing lawns.
He wasn’t the only one impacted by the crisis, of course. In fact, on one occasion, he took pity on an older man whose lawn was overgrown and couldn’t pay to have it mowed. Gustavo offered his services free of charge, and he even gave the man a few pesos he had with him.
We can always give something
“No matter how poor we may be, we always have something to give; whether it’s a hug, a word of encouragement, or mowing a lawn, as was my case,” he told the website’s reporter Cinthia Ruth. “Everything helps. And if those gestures are made with love, they always come back when you least expect it.”
Mailén, his 9-year-old daughter, listened to her father express his concern about how difficult it was to get someone to employ him. She decided to help him by drawing an advertisement he could use to publicize his work.
“I mow lawns,” she wrote (“Corto pasto” in the original Spanish), and underneath, “Gustavo.” She included her dad’s phone number, and drawings of plants and of her father with a weed whacker. Under the phone number, she wrote, “Good luck, daddy” (“Suerte papi”).
Grateful for his daughter’s effort, Gustavo uploaded it to local Facebook groups where people publicized their services. It quickly went viral, being shared across other platforms as well.
Among other things, it was shared by an Argentine influencer on Twitter, with the comment: “That Dad already won!” (A great observation! When your whole family supports you, you’re ahead of the game). His tweet received more than 70,000 likes and more than 7,000 retweets.
Gustavo started to receive calls right away. Some were from people who called him to hire him. Others simply wanted to help him.
In one case he arrived at a home where the yard was already in good condition, and they simply wanted to meet him and pay him as if he had worked. His work schedule, he told Infobae, is “overloaded.”
Preparing for the future
Gustavo’s story is just one example of the effort that hundreds of thousands of people like him are having to make, due to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.
Families are doing the impossible to get ahead. States and companies have announced, at least rhetorically, a commitment to putting in place the indispensable measures to counteract the pandemic’s impact—which, especially for economies that were already vulnerable before the pandemic, has been catastrophic.
In the case of Gustavo, we can see a third, fundamental factor: family and community.
In an interview with Vatican News, economist Stefano Zamagni, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences since 2019, urged that the world “definitively establish the triad (State, Market, Community) model of social order, taking the place of the actual dyad (State, Market) model.”
“Family, community and organized civil society are fundamental institutions in initiating and sustaining” the “regenerative process,” he said in that interview. In the end, as Pope Francis stated in March,
We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other. On this boat … are all of us.