Hold on, let me get my receipt, that's important—she says while dressed from head to toe in a furry suit a not-bad replica of the Sesame Street character Elmo.
We talk on the line of a branch of a popular money-sending service one block away from Times Square, she is a petite middle age woman with what I identify as an Ecuadorian accent.
While she chats with me she holds her Elmo's head right above hers, she doesn't want to detach it completely because she wants get back to work. Now she just finished sending money to her country.
I wake up and I think about my kids—she says—their faces, their voices, that is what gives me the impulse to go to work.
When you are dressed-up like Elmo and the children recognize you, they look at you with friendly eyes, sometimes the parents are the ones that want to take the photo and the little ones don't but the best is when you see that happy look on their face first. You have been outside for a long time, all trough the worst of winter and all that, and then suddenly a child hugs you and gives you that moment of affection, that's the best.
If you are sad or tired they cannot tell because they are just innocent and just see Elmo's face and he is a friend they know. It is a very pure experience.
Some days, like today for example are good, and I don't like to keep change on me so when I have enough I come here and send it to my kids right away. My sister gets it in minutes.
I like to think about children's faces, how happy kids here help my kids home, I like to think like that, days full of happy kids faces. It helps to forget about difficult things... other things.
No, I had never worn a costume before.
FROM ECUADOR TO NEW YORK
My Day Begins and Ends with Happy Faces
Written by Lina Dorado
(Translated from Spanish, as told to her at the Western Union in Times Square in NYC)