Milton Giron at Trader Joes where he worked, just days before his death. Photo by Natalia Gurevich

Eddy wishes he had gone dancing with his father, Milton Giron.

Milton, who we profiled last week, died unexpectedly on Thursday, July 30.

 “You know, we talked about getting together for salsa, he LOVED salsa, and he was a great dancer, but I was busy working and going to City College, and he was working so much at Trader Joe’s plus a side hustle he had helping his cousin installing windows, and so it didn’t happen. I wished I’d danced with him, but I never did.”

Eddy’s voice trembles with shock and sorrow.

Thursdays were their regular lunch date. Eddy, 26, worked morning shifts at the Market and Fourth Street Trader Joe’s. Giron, 59, worked afternoons at the Hyde Street store. They met between shifts for lunch and when Eddy couldn’t reach his more-than-reliable papa at 9 a.m., 10, 11, or noon, (to plan where to eat), he grabbed a Lyft bike and pedaled to his dad’s building, his heart beating wildly.

Outside his door, Eddy dialed Giron’s cell phone for the hundredth time and heard it ringing. He got the manager to open the door.

“My dad, he always told me how they would put on the music at Trader Joe’s when the store was closing, and he would ask the supervisors to put on salsa and he would dance through his chores.

but I never got to dance with him.”

Read: Milton: In a pandemic, work can seem like home for some

The manager wouldn’t let Eddy in the room when he found Giron on the floor. Neither would the paramedics or the medical examiner, who gave Eddy his card and said to call in a week to get the report.

Today he will go in and clean out his dad’s room.

His cousin will help him. His dad had many siblings and Eddy has a lot of cousins. One has set up a GoFundMe campaign to pay for expenses.

“You know about my dad, he was a very caring person. He was very compassionate. Even if he was going through something himself, he would ask about you first. And though he had a troubled past, he didn’t let that eat him up, he never dwelled on it or looked for revenge. He told me that saved him. And God. He would feel calm whenever he talked to God.”

 The family took a trip back to El Salvador in 2000 when Eddy was seven years old.

“He would tell me that when he retired he would go back to El Salvador, I think the family has housing there, like with a tin roof and a metal gate, back to the dogs and the ‘gallinas.’”

Giron took enormous pride in his work, and taught his son to do the same, “He said to me, Kick ass if you are going to do something. Just kick it. “

Giron had been complaining off and on for a year about stomach pains.

“He was really upset he couldn’t even eat the spicy food he loves any more and I am studying to be an EMT and I TOLD him, ‘Dad, go to the doctor,’ and he went once, but I don’t think he followed up. Now, I will honor my dad by becoming an EMT and then a paramedic. To be honest with you, I don’t even know how far my dad got in school.”

But one thing Eddy does absolutely know about his dad: his favorite song.

“Sometimes he would sing it to me, just out of the blue, you know? He would sing and I would chime in on the parts I knew:

“Vivir Mi Vida” by Marc Anthony.

Eddy half recites, half sings the song.  His voice grows stronger and he almost, barely, almost, smiles,

“We never danced together, but we surely sang together.”

Voy a reír, voy a bailar, Vivir mi vida, la la la la

Voy a reír, voy a gozar, Vivir mi vida, la la la la

A veces llega la lluvia Para limpiar las herida
A veces solo una gota Puede vencer la sequía

Y para qué llorar, pa’ qué
Si duele una pena, se olvida
Y para qué sufrir, pa’ qué
Si así es la vida, hay que vivirla, la la la

Vivir mi vida, la la la la
¡Eso!”

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6 Comments

  1. WHAT?
    The Milton story was a seriously bright shining light in an otherwise unrelenting slog of disease related trauma.
    “South of the border” populations are the ones doing most of the economic heavy lifting around town.
    Look at the roofers, construction workers, cleaners, furniture/appliance movers and …..

    Sustenance suppliers – directly in Milton’s case.

    Take a peak into any restaurant kitchen/prep area … guess who’s cookin’ up the vittles?
    Or dealing with your dirty dishes.

    Jeez – condolences don’t come close.
    A credit to all the hard working people keeping this city going,
    Guess we’re only gone tomorrow…. and here today.
    Adios.

  2. Condolences to Eddy and to all the friends and family of Milton Giron. The profile of Milton last week was truly touching and uplifting. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. He seemed like a great guy who persisted with joy despite many obstacles. Please continue to write about inspiring everyday SF people. It is much appreciated.

  3. I can’t believe it! just a week ago I read such beautiful note about him! my sincere condolences .

  4. I worked with Milton at Trader Joe’s. He was a wonderful person. I miss him. Rest in Peace my friend.

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