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I asked him why, then, were there so many cars sitting in the new car lot?
"Oh, those are used cars," he said. "We just park them in the new lot so that the lot doesn't look empty."
But anyway, this part of the story isn't about my new Prius, but the person who sold it to me.
He was a friendly, nice-looking young guy with a constant, wonderful smile who appeared to be in his twenties, though I'm guessing he was probably older than he looked. Tom and I were sitting at his desk waiting for my background check, identity check, license check, and all the other checks that needed to be checked before I would be eligible to take the only new Prius in the county off the lot for a test drive.
In the course of the light conversation we were batting around while we waited Tom asked the young salesman where he was from. Bangladesh, he said. I asked him where in Bangladesh he was from.
"Dhaka," he said.
"Oh, my daughter has been to Dhaka," I said. I told him how my daughter Claire, an emergency disaster nurse, spent a almost month in Bangladesh working at the Rohingya refugee camp in the costal city of Cox's Bazar (See posts from 1/3/ 2018, "On Her Way To Bangladesh" and 1/4/2018, "From Chicago to Cox's Bazar").
He proceeded to tell us what a beautiful place his hometown was and how his family ran a business there. He also talked about the massive refugee camp along the Myanmar border and the great number of people who crossed over to his country seeking safety. "It goes on and on," he said of the camp with a sweeping gesture of his hand, as if inviting us to visualize the size of it.
I told him I'd seen pictures of the camp. I showed him some pictures on my phone of my daughter with a couple of Bangladeshi medical workers.
He then came to the United States, to Michigan, where he met his wife. He told me he's been married for two years. He said he likes living in Ohio and very much likes working for Toyota.
I though to myself, Kid, I haven't even gone for the test drive yet, but there is no doubt in my mind that you are going to sell me a car today.
And he did.
When I told my daughter the Toyota salesman's story she offered another thought: that perhaps to the one million Rohingyas who sought refuge across its borders, Bangladesh was their America.