Dara doesn't work for me any more, but I wrote this bit about him a while ago and he was such a lovely chap he deserves publication.
Dara is on the till... his first outing. I sit in the office listening and I can feel the waves of confusion emanating up the stairs. Any moment now the till will rattle and beep, footsteps will approach and the familiar 'er, Nancy...' will be heard.
Sometimes I get so sick of the sound of my own name, I'd like to install one of those bleepers in my brain, the kind they use on TV to cover up profanities. Still, I hope that Dara on the shop floor will entice young female spendthrifts into my shop. It certainly stops him sitting in the corner crying over the love songs on his iPod. Ah, the tender heart of an 18-year-old boy! He is Kurdish, a slender and beautiful young man possessed of carved cheekbones and big brown eyes that could charm the pants off Anne Widdicombe. He doesn't know that yet though, which rather adds to his appeal. Once he told me that he wanted white skin, but I'm sure it won't be long before the realises that the deep tan complexion and rugged dark locks are paying off for him.
He's an amazing young man, actually - a refugee, an illegal immigrant who escaped Iraq after his family was killed in the conflict. You'd never know it to talk to him though. The chirpy demeanor (excepting the occasional iPod moment) confused me for a while, knowing the awful things that have happened to him. But then someone else pointed out to me that he's probably just really happy to be here and not there. A few months ago he told me that he'd failed to get his visa and was under threat of deportation. His lawyer was helping him appeal and asked if I would write a letter of reference to his case.
Some might take issue with aiding an illegal immigrant to stay in this country, but frankly I am more than happy to say that I hope in some small way I was able to help him get the 5-year visa that was eventually granted. Every day I am confronted with the array of drunkards, drug addicts, shoplifters and general white trash born and bred in this country, wandering the streets in search of cash or goods at anyone's expense except their own. Dara risked everything to come here for the sake of his life - being that he didn't actually have one left back in Iraq - goes to college in the week and volunteers in my shop in his free time, for work experience. I'd rather give him my tax money than some pissed, lazy chavs who can't even be bothered to wash themselves.
Rant over. (For now.)