This Podcast Captured The Emotional Moment When A Father Told His Daughter His Immigration Story


 “Tell me about your childhood in Mexico.”

Francisco Ortega grew up in Tijuana in the 1970s. At just 6 years old, his parents left him with an aunt and headed to Los Angeles to build a better life for their family. According to StoryCorps, Francisco’s father worked as a busboy while his mother was a factory seamstress. Francisco admits to being a bit of a terror to his aunt as he tried to make sense of not having his mother around. After three years without seeing his parents, 9-year-old Francisco was dressed up in a “white crisp shirt” and a clip on black tie and his aunt put him in a car set for the United States. As the car started to leave she blew him a kiss and told him, “Go change the world.”

StoryCorps is a podcast that collects interviews from different people — often with one relative interviewing another — to help “build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” In an interview for StoryCorps, Ortega’s daughter, Kaya, asked him what was his proudest moment since arriving at the U.S. Francisco relays that when he arrived in this country, he was a child immigrant who knew little English. Yet, in college, he had a professor pull him aside and ask him to help tutor some students who were struggling. One student was so grateful for the help that he offered to buy Francisco a beer as a thank you.

“So I go down [to the bar] and this guy grabs my arm and he says to me, ‘I want to thank you for helping me. I couldn’t have done it without you,'” Francisco recalls to his daughter. “And as I’m walking my way back to campus, I am flooded with this emotion and I’m like, ‘Why am I feeling this way?’ I realize, I came into this country as a poor, non-English-speaking immigrant kid and I was teaching how to write. For the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged here.”

As for changing the world, Francisco is the City of Los Angeles’ Community Engagement Specialist. His main goal in that position is to bridge the gap between L.A. residents and law enforcement.

READ: This Transgender Boy’s Question To His Mom Is Simply Heartbreaking

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She Made The Entire Internet Break Down In Tears With The Gifts She Gave Her Best Friends


She Made The Entire Internet Break Down In Tears With The Gifts She Gave Her Best Friends

There’s nothing better in life than friends who have your back. Both Vanessa Mendoza and Norma Bates recently realized they had a one-in-a-million kind of friend in Heidi Paat after she gave them the most heart-warming birthday gifts ever: two talking bears from the Build-A-Bear workshop. In the video Paat posted to Twitter, both Mendoza and Bates are seen breaking down into tears as they find out the secret message each bear holds. When Twitter saw the reaction these friends had, the internet had to take a moment to collect itself.

Why are these bears so special for Vanessa Mendoza and Norma Bates?

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Paat explained on Twitter that in the last few years both Mendoza and Bates had lost a parent.


In 2015, Bates lost her mother to cancer, and then in 2016 Mendoza lost her father to a stroke. Mendoza posted the photo above to her Twitter account with the message:

Every step I take, every move I make. Every single day, every time I pray. I’ll be missing you. #daddyslittlegirl

And world’s greatest friend, Paat, knew she wanted to do something special for her friends’ belated birthday gifts.

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@_Heidi10 / TWITTER

Since Paat went away to college, the three friends don’t get to spend as much quality time as they once did. So Paat decided she wanted to do something extra special for this year’s birthday.

For birthday gifts, Paat created two custom Build-A-Bears. Watching them open their gifts will leave a knot in your throat. Watch below:

As Heidi explained over Twitter, “Both of my best friends lost their parents over the past two years so I got them a bear with their parents’ voice recordings on it.” When asked how she got the parent’s voices in the bears, Paat tweeted, “I asked my other friend’s sister for a recording of her mom :)”

The recording on Mendoza’s bear was her dad’s voice saying  “Estás chula amor… Estás chula madre…”

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We’d all lose it. Paat said she pulled the audio from “one had videos of her dad on her Facebook.”

Paat told mitú she had the idea for this birthday gift since Christmas.

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I saw it around Christmas time in a video and it made me happy so I thought of when I could do it for my friends who had gone through a similar situation of losing a loved one.

Mendoza’s bear featured the voice of her father telling her he thought she was beautiful, and the voice of Bates’ mother was of her singing “Happy Birthday.”

Paat said she was getting emotional as she was putting the plush bear together at Build-A-Bear.

I was getting emotional when I made them so I explained the purpose of the bears and who they were for. The person who helped me was so nice and she made the process of making them so special. She told me to go back and show her the video so if I find myself around there again I’ll definitely show her their reaction.

Paat also said that she told the staff at Build-A-Bear why she was there because she “was probably the only person in there without a kid.”

Paat told mitú why she knew this gift would be so important to her best friends Mendoza and Bates.

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They didn’t say it but I thought of what it would mean to them to hear their [parent’s] voice again. It’s something that people take for granted sometimes.

As Buzzfeed reported, Vanessa Mendoza loved her gift so much she sleeps next to it every night.

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After Paat posted the above video of her friends receiving their gifts, Twitter went completely emotional.

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Some were straight up sincere.

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Other’s played it a little cool…but were obvs still emotional.

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Some people expressed their emotions the best they could.

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With cat pictures.

Paat told mitú how much she enjoyed the love she and her friends received on social media.

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I was so surprised to see the pictures and all of the comments really. They’re so cute and funny.

Paat added that she that the video she posted to Twitter was mainly for her friends to enjoy.

I thought I’d post it to share my appreciation towards my friends with everyone. It was a nice moment and we have a lot of mutual friends so I wanted to share it with them.

When mitú asked what she plans on getting her friends next year’s birthdays, Paat gave the perfect BFF answer.


They never really tell me what they want but I pay attention to what they like and what I think would make them happy. I love to get creative and put a lot of thought into gifts for people. It’s not always about the materialistic things but more about the personalization and thought and creativity that goes into it. I’m sure I’ll think of something nice and cute for them. They deserve sooo much!

[HT] People Are Wrecked After A Friend Surprised Her BFFs With Gifts To Remember Their Late Parents

READ: The Growth Of Latina-Owned Businesses In California Has Grown By More Than 110 Percent

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