I met Alex in the Kroger parking lot this morning when I was making my weekly grocery-store run. It was a beautiful sunny day. Joggers, walkers and cyclists were out everywhere, and Alex was serenading passers by with his accordion. A home-made sign said he was out of work and needed money for rent. His wife and little girl were sitting nearby in the shade. I tossed him a dollar and he briefly played a sad song.

Alex has a slight accent, and I asked him where he is from. Moldavia, he said, a former republic of the old Soviet Union bordering on Romania. He plays the piano for a living and he worked at restaurants. Now the restaurants are closed, he’s unemployed, he applied unsuccessfully for assistance from social services, and he’s out of money.

If I had had a notepad on me, I would have gone all journalist on him, but I didn’t, so I didn’t. But he did allow me to take his photo (which I botched by letting the sun shade his face). Let Alex from Moldavia serve as a reminder of the hundreds of thousands of economic victims of the COVID-19 epidemic and the business shutdown put into place to fight it. We don’t see many of them. They usually don’t advertise their presence. But they’re out there. We cannot forget them.


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10 responses to “A Sad Serenade”

  1. sbostian Avatar

    We don’t focus enough on the “little people” (remember Leona Helmsley) tossed aside in the wake of our Ahab-like (from Moby Dick, not from the Old Testament) quest to defeat the virus.

    Thank you for the reminder. It is needed every day.i

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    I care greatly for his and his family’s plight (and I may have given more than a dollar being the sap I am)…


    All kinds of questions about how does someone from Moldavia get here since they are unlike those (I think) who cross the border as undocumented?

    Does the US allow people from other countries to fly here to live and stay without any means of support to start with?

    Or did he come here on a tourist or student visa and not leave when he was supposed to?

    This guy has no unemployment, probably is not eligible for Medicaid… or other health insurance… one does wonder how he and his wife and kid “make it” even in less difficult times….

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      Yeah, we need to build a wall or something to keep these folks out….

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        yeah, money for that in the stimulus bill might be a “go”, eh?

    2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      8 USC sec. 1601.
      Ҥ1601. Statements of national policy concerning welfare and immigration
      The Congress makes the following statements concerning national policy with respect to welfare and immigration:

      “(1) Self-sufficiency has been a basic principle of United States immigration law since this country’s earliest immigration statutes.

      “(2) It continues to be the immigration policy of the United States that-

      “(A) aliens within the Nation’s borders not depend on public resources to meet their needs, but rather rely on their own capabilities and the resources of their families, their sponsors, and private organizations, and

      “(B) the availability of public benefits not constitute an incentive for immigration to the United States.

      “(3) Despite the principle of self-sufficiency, aliens have been applying for and receiving public benefits from Federal, State, and local governments at increasing rates.

      “(4) Current eligibility rules for public assistance and unenforceable financial support agreements have proved wholly incapable of assuring that individual aliens not burden the public benefits system.

      “(5) It is a compelling government interest to enact new rules for eligibility and sponsorship agreements in order to assure that aliens be self-reliant in accordance with national immigration policy.

      “(6) It is a compelling government interest to remove the incentive for illegal immigration provided by the availability of public benefits.

      “(7) With respect to the State authority to make determinations concerning the eligibility of qualified aliens for public benefits in this chapter, a State that chooses to follow the Federal classification in determining the eligibility of such aliens for public assistance shall be considered to have chosen the least restrictive means available for achieving the compelling governmental interest of assuring that aliens be self-reliant in accordance with national immigration policy.”

      Everyone who has adopted a child from overseas has been required to provide income tax returns and documentation of assets to demonstrate the family’s or individual’s ability to support the child before the federal government allows the child to immigrate to the U.S. But this rule is for suckers, according to the open borders crowd.

  3. LGABRIEL Avatar

    Thanks for putting a face (although a shaded one) to the discussions of how, when, and whether to begin a process of restoring life to Virginia. We all know or know of people who are falling through the cracks of a very flawed CARES Act, yet we are now having to face an even bigger and less focused 3 trillion dollar Bill containing provisions having nothing to do with coronavirus, much less an emergency.

  4. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Thanks for this. Moldova is known for good wine and some bloody fighting not that long ago.

    1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

      It is also one of the few places that an Iranian ICBM can actually reach.

  5. Nancy_Naive Avatar

    “We don’t see many of them. They usually don’t advertise their presence. But they’re out there. We cannot forget them.”

    The 88,000 others do leave markers… except in mass graves.

  6. djrippert Avatar

    COVID19 has started to rage through eastern Europe. Italy may be in recovery but places like Moldova and Ukraine are just getting started. The same may well be true in NoVa. It’s hard to understand why Montgomery County, MD has nearly twice the COVID19 deaths of Fairfax County, VA other than the Cuomovirus just hasn’t had the time to spread from New York City.

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