Pizza for Passport, Anyone?

Lately, all I've been blogging about is EB-5 this and EB-5 that…so much so that for the second time this week, a prospective client looking for H-1B and PERM assistance asked if we could refer them to an attorney who did this work!  I guess it's time to remind everyone that although EB-5 is no doubt the squeaky wheel these days, we – I should really say, "Melissa" – are/is STILL providing comprehensive family and business immigration services.

As you have no doubt gathered, my time these days is pretty much spent on EB-5 Regional Center structuring, consulting with existing Regional Centers, and helping folks find the right EB-5 program for them.  Between that and my primary corporate clients, for whom I handle a diverse number of investment-related matters, my plate is more than full.   Melissa, on the other hand, is busier than ever with our non EB-5 business immigration work, which involves mostly L-1A, E-2, E-2, PERM and complex EB-1 permanent residency.  She's handling not only her corporate clients but has assumed the role of primary counsel for a lot of the work I used to do myself, such as entertainer visas and the like.  Mel also handles the less frequent family immigration cases we take on, as well as naturalization and complex waiver filings. In addition to her busy case schedule, Mel continues to volunteer at the University of Miami's College of Law, most recently by presenting a training session called ""Immigration Options for Your Undocumented Clients". 

With our respective families and obligations, it is, of course, always a challenge to maintain balance.  I know I've been struggling with that a lot lately.  (At this stage in my life, my body is less than subtle in reminding me when I'm pushing myself too hard; a vague sense of being tired turns rapidly into sniffles and/or a sore throat; if I don't cool my jets and get one or two good, long nights of sleep, a cold is invariably next.)  As I hear about school meetings and Halloween costumes and soccer practice, I vividly remember my own life when the boys were young, and I marvel at Melissa's ability to balance all that and still manage her workload.  But, then again, she isn't a year away from AARP membership eligibility, is she? (-;

Like me, Melissa thinks that the best part of our job is in being able to help others.  Recently, Mel was working in Ft. Lauderdale and went in for a quick slice of pizza. Not having any cash in hand, she pulled out her debit card when the owner told her that they didn't take plastic.  Running late, she thanked him and explained she didn't have time to find an ATM.  As she turned around to leave, the owner said "WAIT, my treat."  And so Melissa got a free slice of pizza.

Although we spend a great deal of time giving free advice and guidance to people needing immigration help, the ubercoolness of someone giving us a free slice of pizza was not lost on her.  (Exactly the same thing happened to me buying an iced tea at an airport earlier this year, except it was the lady in front of me who paid).  As she ate her pizza and thanked him, they got to talking and as it turned out, Mr. Pizza was getting ready to file his N-400 application for U.S. citizenship…something Melissa knows a little something about.

Cool story, huh?  As Mel and I have often discussed, all this business about helping others really is karma-related.  It wasn't about Melissa getting a free lunch or about Mr. Pizza getting some valuable legal advice he otherwise couldn't afford…it was about one person deciding to do something nice for another with no expectation of anything in return, and the universe conspiring to see his good deed generously rewarded.