Last night, my student, Fong, brought his family all the way from Rosemead to thank me for helping him with his medical school essays. He said that his parents insisted they make the trek so they could express their gratitude to me for my assistance. Fong will be entering the first year class of Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida Internation University in fall, 2017. He is a UCLA graduate who has worked very hard to get to where he now is. His parents are political refugees from Vietnam who escaped the brutal Communist regime in the 1990s. They were able to obtain citizenship since they were seeking political asylum. Fong has a younger brother who couldn’t come last night because he had a college class. He is majoring in computer science. His little sister, Jennifer, hopes to one day follow in Fong’s footsteps and become the second physician in the family.
Fong’s parents stowed away on a freighter to escape Vietnam. His father works for minimum wage in an Asian grocery store; his mother does food demonstrations to sell various products. They told me they are so proud of their son for his achievements and thanked me over and over for the help I offered him. I said, “He’s a fine boy. I have been happy to help.”
This is the American dream. Immigrant parents with hopes of freedom, working hard to build a solid life for themselves and their children, then watching as those kids become fine American citizens who make important contributions to our society. The pleasure is all mine to be a small part of this young man’s success. Fong has become more than just a student; he is now my friend.
I could not be more pleased for him or proud of him.
His parents should be proud. Their son will be a wonderful physician. I think Jennifer may one day be a fine one too!