Editor’s note: The series is about people’s idea of unconditional love. Each person interviewed is asked about their idea of what unconditional love is and how it pertains to their life.
By MC Bell | firstname.lastname@example.org
As the breeze flirts with the laces of his new, exclusive Jordan’s, Jose Rodriquez reminisces about his first pair of sneakers.
Rodriquez, 23-year-old pizza chef, works at Pizzalley’s Chianti Room in St. Augustine, Florida.
After being asked what unconditional love means, Rodriquez responded with a fascinating anecdote.
On Thanksgiving Day two years ago, Rodriquez suffered life-threatening injuries in a car accident that left loved ones worried for his recovery.
Rodriquez said the moment he realized the driver had lost control, he grabbed his daughter in the seat next to him out of fear for her life.
The accident brought about humbling thoughts that he lives by every day.
“Everybody got their own stories,” Rodriquez said. “You never know. I was having a bad day today, but let me tell you something, there is someone out there that has it way worse than me. I wake up every single day and know that my daughter is fed and clothed.”
Rodriquez grew up in South Philly with his two older sisters, brother, and grandmother until the age of 14.
He has had an admiration for Michael Jordan sneakers as well as for the athlete himself since he was a little boy.
“Me and Michael Jordan share the same birthday, I loved Jordan’s since I’ve been a kid, I love playing basketball, love Jordan’s, LeBron’s and everything, but I mostly like Jordan’s a lot because I could never buy them when I was a kid,” he said.
Rodriquez’s first pair of Jordan’s did not come fresh from a newly cut out cardboard box, but rather off the streets of South Philly.
“I bought it off of West King Street at the Georgia Market. It was a pair of tens or a pair of nines. They were black and gray. I told him I wanted to buy his shoes and he laughed at me. I told him I was serious. I gave him $250 and made him take off his shoes.”
Rodriquez is not the only avid sneaker collector. His daughter also owns her own collection of Michael Jordan sneakers.
He said he still has the first pair of Jordan’s that he held his daughter in the day she was born.
Rodriquez wants his daughter to have the opportunities he did not have growing up. He feels that he exemplifies unconditional love through caring for his daughter.
He said self sacrifice is what it takes to give his daughter the life he never had.
“As long as she is happy, I’m happy,” he said. “As long as she has everything she needs and doesn’t want anything, I’m happy.”