HOUSTON (CNN) – At 96-years-young Ralph Abercia has seen it all.
His family struggled during the Great Depression. He fought in World War II. — And he just recently fought off COVID-19.
“I’ve been blessed the good Lord has treated me very good, from the time I was a kid to today,” Abercia says.
With recent headlines stating 22 million jobs were lost last month and unemployment hitting 14.7%, which is the highest rate since the Great Depression.
“The Great Depression was many many years ago,” Abercia says.
He still remembers it vividly.
He says there were no resources like today. People had to walk for miles and practically beg for food or jobs.
“People could not eat they were laying on the street in downtown,” Abercia says.
He remembers selling newspapers. He only needed three. It was enough to make $0.3 — and just enough to put some food on the table.
Today he says people are lucky to be able to watch the news out a cell phone and find out about the latest free food donation drive and when he heard of Americans getting a stimulus relief check …
“My God, I’ve never heard of so much money being sent to people,” Abercia says.
A simple act of kindness from a stranger is what they depended on.
He remembers well when Houston Mayor Oscar Holcome gave him his first pair of new shoes. It still makes him emotional
“He looked and he saw my shoes that had holes in them … holes in both of them,” Abercia says. “And if you walk, you had to walk in water.
“He told the lady- the secretary- to take these guys down and buy them shoes,” he added.
People learned many things during the Great Depression, Abercia says. Mainly, be humble because at any point all can be lost.