“I was born to go up and down!”
Meet Ruben Pardo. At 75-years-old, he is the oldest manual elevator operator in Los Angeles. Just last week, Ruben celebrated 40 years of taking people up and down Wilshire Tower, an iconic art deco building found in LA’s Miracle Mile area.
We’re telling you about Ruben because his story is such a beautiful tale of sacrifice. Ruben, who was born in Mexico but grew up in East Los Angeles, is the oldest of four. He’s been working since he was nine years old to help out his younger siblings. He dropped out of the 9th grade to work full time. His sacrifice paid off. All three of them went to college and went on to have fulfilling careers.
“Everybody had a good position and guess what? They all got houses and three cars, four cars in the garage. And I’m the one with the little apartment,” Pardo told the Los Angeles Times back in 2011.
If you’re thinking Ruben is bitter, you’re wrong. Despite having to give up so much for his loved ones, Ruben loves his job more than anyone else.”[We] are happy. Me and my wife, we are really happy…. As long as you’re happy, as long as you are full of happiness, that’s all that matters.” Judging from the video, we believe him. Ruben might not have much, but what he does have is a sense of purpose and the satisfaction a man who found a place in the world and made it truly his own. It just so happens that for Ruben, it’s an elevator.
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