Staff Spotlight in the Castro

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Jonathan, Our Castro Lead – Happiest Guy Alive!

Many of you know and have been served by our positive Castro lead, Jonathan Abuel. I wanted to share a little of his personal history with you, as now is a very special time in his life!

Jon is originally from the Philippines and moved to America 8 years ago. He left his home country and came here because ‘America is the country of dreams, the place you come to if you want your ambitions to come true!’

Jon explained to me that the Philippines has so much corruption that it makes it difficult to raise a family there. Jon has a wife and two beautiful daughters, now aged 21 and 16. He had to leave them behind in the Philippines in order to financially set himself up; as well as to go through the immigration process to bring them over here.

It has not been an easy time for him and 8 years without your family is heart breakingly difficult but his positive attitude and love for his family motivates him. Everything he does is to set up a future for his daughters.

Jon, Jamaica & Judy

His first job upon arrival here was within a couple of weeks. Despite having a disability, due to contracting Polio as a child, he was able to find work as a barista at Starbucks . There, he was quickly promoted within 6 months because of his great customer service and work ethic. He worked there for a few years always sending money home to his family., “I always control myself not to spend money, only on important things”.

(Left: Jon, Jamaica, Judy)

This month, after all these years, his family has finally joined him and as he says, this makes him ‘the happiest man alive’. And like full circle, his eldest daughter Judy, started her first day of work at Starbucks yesterday! His youngest, Jamaica, will be starting school here in the fall.

Whilst it is financially difficult right now, as he has to pay more in rent and spend more to meet the family’s needs, it is just the beginning for them. We wish them so much luck and we are all very happy for Jon! He deserves all the happiness life has to offer.

Jon’s story is not unusual in that so many of our staff have left their families behind in order to financially make ends meet. I’m always in awe of how hard working and emotionally strong our staff are in order to make a better life for those they love.

And a message from Jon to his customers: “I love America and I love my job, whilst no job is easy, I dedicate myself to my family and team. I love my Castro regulars as I appreciate their loyalty; not only on their Chicken Tikka Masala/Saag Thalis but to us. I thank them for appreciating our service and their patience when we are busy or mess up something”.

Jamaica, Dory, Jonathan and Judy Abuel

(Left: Jamaica, Dory, Jonathan and Judy Abuel)

*All photos courtesy of Jonathan!