She encouraged her new husband to follow his dream and open another shoe shop. This time in Tempe. In 1989, Shahin opened Abe’s Shoe Repair shop on the southeastern corner of Guadalupe Road and McClintock Drive. The store was barely 500 square feet, but it was Shahin’s palace. For nearly 20 years, he made miracles with shoes that had seen their last day until they landed in the hands of the craftsman. He had everything he had ever wanted. The shoe man with a thick accent who boasted of his four children and beautiful wife earned a loyal and loving customer base.
We had the perfect life, Samira said.”My husband always said, ‘I’m the luckiest man. I have everything,’ ” she said. “For 27 years, he didn’t leave this country. He was living his dream. He loved America. He loved Arizona. He loved Tempe.” Escaping El Salvador The same year Shahin opened his business, a 20-year-old man was escaping what war had done to his country. Even more, he was escaping a life in El Salvador without opportunity. “Honestly, I came here illegally,” said Angulo. He spent one month in a detention center. He was luckier than most immigrants are today. Nowadays, laws that limit immigration from many countries make it nearly impossible for immigrants across the world to earn U.S. work permits or citizenship.
During the late 1980s, America accepted some El Salvadorians through asylum. The youngest of eight children, Angulo used a work permit to move to California, where he joined his surviving brothers and mother. His father was dead and three brothers died as children because war prevented accessible medical care, Angulo explained. His father had owned three shoe shops in El Salvador and one in Honduras. He lost all but one of those businesses in the war.
But in America, Angulo planned to carry on his father’s legacy. He worked long days at several shoe-repair shops, and at night he would take an hourlong bus ride to a community center that taught free classes on English as a second language. In 1998, a Phoenix shoe-repair-store owner lured him to join his crew.