Shortly after 12 p.m., Juan Urrutia was standing on the corner of 19th and Capp, hiding behind a wall and scratching away at a lottery ticket.
He was behind a wall because his wife, or “mi señora” as he calls her, would be showing up any minute and scold him for buying scratchers.
Today is his day off work as a dishwasher for a Marriott hotel in San Francisco. He proudly brought out his employee I.D. He’s been there 17 years and survived the recent nine-week strike. “The union’s strong,” he said in Spanish and that, he said, is why they won an increase in wage and benefits.
Born in El Salvador, Urrutia arrived in the United States in 1979 on Thanksgiving Day.
He loves living in the Mission.
“More than I like tortillas,” he said as his wife walked up holding a bag with the chicken she had just purchased from City Discount Meat and Grocery.
Urrutia wrapped his arm around her as they walked away down 19th St. toward Bryant St., where they live.
Hidden in his pocket was the ticket he had managed to scratch earlier while waiting for his wife. He had won $20.