UPS Driver's Reaction to First Paycheck Goes Viral

Cuban-born Yoel Garcia reminds Americans to be grateful for what they have
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2022 8:25 AM CST
Updated Nov 27, 2022 4:10 PM CST

Yoel Garcia has experienced a lot of firsts since immigrating to the US from Cuba in 2021—from voting in a free and fair election to sitting on Santa's knee—many of which he and his Cuban-American wife, Marissa, have shared with their hundreds of thousands of followers across social media. But one particular experience made his head "explode," the 37-year-old now living in Phoenix, Arizona, tells CBS News. Garcia, also identified as Yoel Diaz, found seasonal work as a driver for UPS in late October, and in a video viewed nearly 2 million times on TikTok, he is shown opening and then kissing his very first American paycheck. "I feel every hour counted," he says in the footage. "I know I can work hard for something. I can't compare that emotion with anything. Because I never had that in my country."

"I never had this much money in my hands from my effort," he tells CBS, noting he earned $12 a month as a computer science teacher in Cuba. "When you have this for the first time, your head explodes and [you] say, 'Wow, it's beautiful.'" "For the first time, he has the opportunity to dream," Marissa tells Fox News. Life in the US can be "hard" because "you need to work," but you can do so "in a dignified manner" and "in the end, you go to your home, you have food," Garcia tells CBS. That wasn't always the case in Cuba. And though he "hurts" for those who can't have what he now has, he's "grateful" for his own gains. In a statement, UPS says it's grateful for him. CEO Carol B. Tome even sent Garcia a care package. As Garcia notes in a video, "I have never been gifted anything from a boss." (More uplifting news stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.