December 14, 2014
The Working Life
By RACHEL L. SWARNS
It is the season of twinkling lights and glittering evergreens, festive parties and holiday bonuses. But not for José Gutiérrez.
He works as a busboy in Manhattan, clearing plates and wiping tables at an Italian restaurant for about $450 a week when the tips are good. It is not enough to keep groceries in the refrigerator, he said, barely enough to cover the rent.
So his heart sank when his 6-year-old daughter handed him her Christmas list. He knew he wouldn’t be joining the throngs of shoppers crowding into toy stores, filling shopping bags with their children’s dreams.