Cuban-born UPS driver whose reaction to first paycheck went viral says he feels ‘grateful’

A UPS driver has gone viral after his wife filmed him opening his first paycheck in the United States. Yoel Garcia told CBS News he was so excited because he could barely fill his refrigerator before immigrating from Cuba.

He said a few times that he only had two things in it: “Water, water, water, five, ten eggs, water.”

Now, he lives in Phoenix, Arizona and his fridge is full. With the holidays coming up, he told CBS News he’s “grateful” to be in the US

“I know it’s hard,” he said. “I know because you need a job. You have to work, it’s hard… but in the end, you go home, you have food.”

The endearing video of his first paycheck has garnered millions of views, with the “American Dream” moment resonating with Americans and immigrants alike. His wife, Marissa Garcia, who has been documenting his journey on social media, recorded the video.

“This is my first hourly wage that feels like every hour counts,” he said in the video. “That every hour of work matters in my life and that I know I can work hard for something. I can’t compare that feeling to anything. Because I never had that in my country.”

He told CBS News it’s a moment he’ll never forget.

“When you first have this, your head explodes and you’re like, ‘Wow, that’s beautiful,'” he said.

Before coming to the US in 2021, Garcia was a computer science teacher in Cuba, earning $12 a month. He lamented how far ahead the US was in the field.

Garcia met his wife, who is Cuban-American, when they were young and still living in Cuba. She often told him about the reality outside Cuba, which she believed was being held back by the Communist Party. Eventually they got married and were faced with a decision: stay or go to the US

Garcia said he told his wife, “We want a future, we want a family … wherever you go, I’m going.”

He came to America on a K-1 visa and when he got his work permit, he applied for a job at UPS. The company told CBS News it started in late October and has been making deliveries ever since.

The CEO of UPS even sent him a letter and care box.

“This story truly warms our hearts and we are happy to have Yoel on our team,” a UPS spokesperson said in a statement.

Garcia makes more than he ever did in Cuba, but it’s more than that to him.

“I have never had so much money in my hands from my effort, from my sweat, and it hurts me that millions in my country and in other countries cannot have it,” he said. “And being here, you can get it in a decent way.”

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