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Jose made me a turkey sandwich at 10 pm, are you in college?

Jose is handsome, young, hard-working, and tonight he made me the best Subway sandwich with lots of jalapenos and spicy mustard, just the way I like it. It was almost 10 pm on this Monday night and I always wonder when I see these young people working so late...are you in school, mijito?

No, I'm not.

He smiles, cleaning the counter with ganas. He's got a system to do it just right, he tells the manager.

Did you vote?

No. I don't believe in it.

He keeps scrubbing.

It's all about money.

I give him my spiel about Obama and how there will be more opportunities for him to go to college. He smiles, keeps cleaning. Then I tell him how I did it, with loans and scholarships.

I have his attention now.

Latinos are 20% of the electoral vote in Texas, but we're not voting in high numbers, I tell him. Blacks are 19%, and they voted. That means you could get much more help with a college education if latinos voted more.

I tell him my family story, how I went to college, how my brothers graduated from the University of Texas. How my father didn't finish high school. And my mother only went to the second grade in Mexico.

What is your dream? I ask him.

I don't think anyone has ever asked him this before. He stops what he's doing and smiles, but this smile is hiding a big dream from the rest of us.

Sometimes hope is a job. And someone who explains to you how to go to college even if you don't have money. And sometimes, it's a story that whispers, maybe. Maybe.

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