Angel in Queens
Behind the story with Toan Lam: a personal account
When I tell people his story, I have to control myself and take a moment to hold back tears. I've never cried so much while covering a story. I was teary eyed during the interview, while writing and editing this story.
Jorge Munoz lives up to his name as a true Angel, who lives in Queens, New York. A friend-of-a-friend (Thanks Terrie from Chicago) contacted us on FaceBook to tell us about "an amazing man who feeds people out of his truck."
We researched, but could not find the story. I told myself, if it's meant to be, GIG will cover this story. Months passed and as fate would have it, I booked a trip to New York to visit a friend, who was recently laid off from his network reporting job. He told me I had to meet his friend, Sarah, who had also been laid off from her producing job. When I met Sarah, she told me, "Hey, I love GIG and now I have a lot of time to volunteer." She told me about Jorge's story, sent me the link to a New York Times article featuring Jorge.
Turns out, Jorge was doing his miracle work a block and a half away from my friend's apartment, where I was staying. Amazing!
The story immediately went viral online and a few months later, I met the Spungens -- one of the many families who wanted to buy a stove and refrigerator for Jorge. The story featured that his stove was on the brink of breaking down. It was a teary reunion. Jorge cried and said that we came just in the nick of time. He was using his sister's stove upstairs, which was also about to break down too.
The Spungens purchased the refrigerator and stove from Len Harris' Appliances, who graciously offered to donate free delivery, set up and disposal/recycling of the old refrigerator and stove. They even jumped on the inspiration bandwagon and gave Jorge a gift a brand new microwave!
I still receive emails and comments on how Jorge continues to inspire their communities. Teachers, pastors and parents tell us they're sharing the story with their families and friends too!