The late 1960s saw a wave of Cuban immigration to the United States. Following the overthrow of the Cuban government, scores of people left their home country, most of whom never returned.
Jose Riesco Sr. was only 9 years old when he and his family left the tropical island. As a child, Jose wasn’t happy about the move, and his mother had difficulty getting him to stop crying.
Beyond not wanting her son to be upset, there was a more pressing reason to make him appear happy about the flight. The Cuban military was known to separate children from their families who appeared unhappy about leaving the island.
So his mother told him something she knew would put a smile on his face; once they arrived in the United States, she would buy her baseball-crazy son a new glove.
“In order to get my then-9-year-old father to stop crying and come to the USA with his mother and older sister, his mother promised she’d buy him the Wilson A2000 since he was such a baseball fanatic,” Juan-Elias Riesco, Jose’s son, told ABC 7 News.
The Wilson A2000 is a top-of-the-line baseball glove used by countless professional baseball players.
Juan-Elias has known for a long time about the promise his grandmother made his father all those years ago. Unfortunately, she was never able to deliver on that promise.
Fast-forward more than 40 years, and Jose and Juan-Elias run a Cuban restaurant called Nini’s Deli in Chicago. The father–son duo work long hours, and after a grueling 10-hour shift on July 14, were ready to call it a day.
But not before Juan-Elias gave his father the surprise of a lifetime.
“He had zero idea. Totally a surprise,” Juan-Elias said.
It was Jose’s birthday, and his son helped make it one he will never forget. A video posted to Facebook shows the father and son sharing the touching moment in their restaurant.
“In the late 60s my grandma told my dad they were leaving Cuba but only to get my father (who was 9 years old at the time) his dream baseball mitt — the Wilson A2000,” Juan-Elias said in a Facebook post.
Jose couldn’t help but break down in tears. Not only because of how touched he was by his son’s thoughtfulness, but because of everything the baseball glove represented.
“Today for his birthday, almost 50 years later, I was finally able to get him that glove he came to America for. Happy birthday Papa,” Juan-Elias said.
In the late 60’s my grandma told my dad they were leaving Cuba but only to get my father (who was 9 years old at the time) his dream baseball mitt – the Wilson A2000. Today for his birthday, almost 50 years later, I was finally able to get him that glove he came to America for. Happy birthday Papa.
Posted by Juan-Elias Riesco on Saturday, July 14, 2018