María – Baker / Málaga, Spain

Manolo came into the store and María slipped him a couple of hard rolls. Then she scolded him for something he had said, just like a mother would. Manolo is a hoarder and he smells really bad. But María is really kind to him. She is kind to lots of people. Once she told me that there is more to life than money.

Pictures María took in places like Peru and Norway used to cover the walls, but slowly shots of her granddaughter Nebraska are edging them out – also Bruce Springsteen posters. Maybe when the economy gets better María will start traveling again. She told me she would like to visit India and maybe Canada.

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José Antonio – shoe repairman / Málaga

If he says they’ll be done by Thursday, they’ll be done. José Antonio runs a small shoe repair business in the Málaga suburb of Puerto de la Torre. I’ve often wondered how he can survive charging so little. He has a friendly smile and knows my name. That means a lot to me— that, and knowing my shoes will be ready when he promised.