- This is my mom, Rebecca.
She had spent 50 years as a hotel housekeeper.
My mom always assumed she'd have a job.
Then, all of a sudden... - I just got fired.
I've seen it happen with other people in my age group.
It's very difficult.
- I want you to write out a list of all the things you could never do.
Kind of like a bucket list.
I want to go out and do them.
Road trip, beginning now.
- You have one chance at life.
For God's sake, live it the way that makes you comfortable.
It doesn't matter what anybody else thinks.
This is your life.
female announcer: "Duty Free."
Now, only on "Independent Lens."
[vocalizing] ♪ ♪ - This is my mom, Rebecca.
We've always been close, because, in a way, we were all we had.
She was an immigrant who raised me and my brother in a tiny apartment fit for one person.
To make ends meet, my mom spent her days cleaning hotel rooms, but she always had big dreams for us.
So when it came time for me to go to college, she gave up all the money she had saved to give me the education she could only dream about.
Actually been waiting for an artist...
I went on to become a journalist, but I never thought to ask my mom about her own story.
About the daughter she sent away.
The love that nearly broke her.
All of those hours she clocked, just for us to get by.
Then, all of a sudden, her story took a turn, and I didn't know how she would survive.
[gentle music] ♪ ♪ [upbeat music] ♪ ♪ - Being 75, it takes all this stuff to make you presentable to the world, so the kids will say, "Gee, when you were young, you must have been pretty."
[chuckles] [door unlocks] There's several factors that make up a good housekeeping team.
You have timing.
You have quality control.
You have guest service.
You have inventory control.
You have technique.
There's a great skill in being a housekeeper, in being able to keep a smile on your face, at all times.
Martin Luther King summed it up best.
He said, "You may only be a street sweeper, "but when you go to heaven, God will say, 'You was the best street sweeper we ever had.'"
[elevator dings] - Just got off the phone with my mom.
Got-- she got into a fight at work.
They got into sort of a tussle on email.
My mom woke up saying she didn't want to...wake up anymore.
She doesn't want to live anymore.
She doesn't want to wake up to this, so I'm just gonna go on Amtrak and hang out with her.
In 40 years as a housekeeper, my mom had a spotless work record.
But these calls were becoming more frequent.
- [answering machine beep].
I think they want me out.
They just zero in on me.
Zero in, and they put me down.
Taking away different responsibilities.
I've seen it happen with other people in my age group, and I want to make quite sure that people understand that I don't expect this to happen to me.
[knocks on door] - Surprise!
- Oh, I'm surprised!
- How is work going?
- Not easy.
Fighting for survival, it seems.
Do you want some of this yogurt and-- - No thanks.
But that's, like, your favorite meal.
Sometimes I don't have a chance to eat.
Here's your coffee.
There's something not right.
That's all I know.
[tense music] - And she was right.
The next day, my mom got her first written warning, ever.
It claimed she was being insubordinate on the job.
How do you feel?
Do you feel like-- - I feel like I'm very dispensable.
That's what I feel, and that's something I've never felt before.
And having done the things that I've done and the things I've been invited to do, I feel like my value is-- in their eyes, is diminished.
That's how I feel.
And it's not a good feeling.
[somber music] ♪ ♪ - You've reached the voicemail of Sian-Pierre.
I can't get to the phone right now.
[voicemail beeps] - I just got fired.
Just want you to know that.
Call me back.
- End of message.
- I got your message on the way here.
How did it all go down?
- I was just told that, although I have been a valued member of the team and that I have had several jobs, that they were reorganizing and my position was being eliminated.
- How do you feel?
- I have not been the one calling in sick.
I have not been the one-- I've been the one constant here, and I felt... just tossed away.
It's almost like you shoot an arrow at a deer, and you hurt its leg.
It suffers, and it cries, and it's in pain.
Better to have shot it through the heart, because not only did I lose a job, [voice cracks] I lost a family.
- My mom's entire life was wrapped up in this building.
She lived here for 40 years, and she raised us six floors above the same hotel she was fired from.
When we were growing up, the building was a non-profit YWCA that provided affordable housing to women in Boston.
But over a decade ago, the Y turned the building into a for-profit hotel to make some money.
They hired my mom to launch the new venture, because she was an ideal candidate.
She had 30 years of housekeeping experience, and she had already lived in the building.
- Hi, Stacy.
Do you mind if Sian... - The deal was, she'd have to work 24/7 in return for free rent and a small paycheck.
But when the management company fired her they left her with just two weeks' pay and a year in the apartment.
But now, without a job, she'd soon be out of a home, and a community too.
So how much money do you have in your bank account today?
- About $600.
It's very difficult right now.
- My mom always assumed she'd have a job.
We'd never made plans otherwise.
So at 32, with no savings myself, I had to figure out how I could keep us afloat.
Just got off the phone with my mom.
She's lonely, and she's sad, and she's coming around to the idea that this may be it.
That she might not get another job.
That she might not be able to pay her bills.
That she might not be able to live in the apartment past 76.
And it is the moment that I've realized that the career, and the life, and what I have been hustling for in the city, like, might have to be put on hold so that I can take care of her, because she would have done that for me.
Back to Boston.
Headed up there for a month now, to hang out with my mom.
Try and teach her as much as I can about computers.
Get her a LinkedIn profile.
Just get her straight to be able to sort of attack this next stage in life by herself.
- I can't.
- Caps lock is on, so when you press shift... Huh?
- I don't like to do this [bleep], I said.
- Why not?
- 'Cause I'm a housekeeper.
I'm not a--press and press.
You gotta visually see.
- Well, you always told me that sometimes you gotta do things that you don't want to do.
I'm gonna do this one time.
The reason I'm doing this is because I have to do it.
Ain't no reason on this Earth anybody's gonna hire somebody that's 75 years of age.
- You never know.
- So that's Gabriel's rent?
- My mom didn't just need a job for herself.
She needed some extra income to continue supporting my brother, Gabriel.
I will have to pay up for him, for the month.
- He's schizophrenic, and though he lives independently, he's relied on my mom both financially and emotionally.
- It's a very hard job dealing with a mentally ill person.
It is physically and mentally exhausting.
A mentally ill person is mentally ill 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
It's like something that keeps coming at you, coming at you, coming at you.
It never goes away.
It never goes away.
There are good days, and there are bad days, and it's very expensive.
That's $337 more a month that I'm getting for him.
- And where does that money come from, from you?
- Out of my little-- out of my money, yeah.
- And why do you take care of all these things for him?
- Because I'm his legal guardian.
If he had his-- if he got his card, it would be gone by tomorrow.
How many times?
"Mom, have you got $10?
Mom, have you got $5?
I need $5."
3:00 in the morning.
"I need $10."
- Well, why didn't you just say no?
- He won't let you say no.
He will hound me, and sit there, and be going on.
Turning the TV loud and everything else, because he's mentally ill. - My mom had social security coming in, and I could help throw her some money here and there, but even that wasn't enough.
She needed a job.
My mom spent her days searching for a job, just to survive.
- No, no, no.
All these jobs are on Indeed.
I've applied for every one of 'em.
- And I was pulled back to New York to try and make some money for the both of us.
- Hi, Sian.
How are you?
How are you?
- I was just sleeping.
Cathy called me.
That's all I have.
- Mom, well, I had a great idea, I think, and I want you to hear me through.
So I want you to write out a list of all the things you could never do while you were working.
Kind of like a bucket list, but more like a life list.
And over the next year, one a month, I want to go out and do them.
- How are we gonna pay for that when I'm not working?
How could I do all those things?
- I don't know, Mom.
That's on me to figure out, but we'll figure it out.
I just want you to think about all the things that you missed out on and all the things that you sacrificed.
- But I'd rather be working.
I'll think about it.
[gentle music] ♪ ♪ - So Lana Del Rey will be performing...
But to make the bucket list happen, I had to put my work on hold for a bit.
Instead, I concentrated on how exactly to pay for our trips together and decided to launch a Kickstarter.
And then, I emailed every single person I knew.
It's launch day and I feel crazy for emailing thousands of people.
There's my Facebook going off, and I don't know.
I'm just praying and hoping that people believe in this project as much as we do and that my mom's bucket list can actually get checked off.
We raised $60,000 in a month through the crowdfunding site, which allowed us to kick off items on her list.
Do you want to go take our first selfie in the park?
- Yeah, yeah.
- All right.
Let's do it.
[camera shutter clicks] So what do you want your Instagram name to be?
- Well, I don't want "Rebucket."
[laughter] [whimsical music] ♪ ♪ - So Gabriel just didn't want to come on these adventures, huh?
- He's afraid to be in the public eye.
- So yeah, we used to do this, like-- - Oh, every Saturday almost.
both: Every Saturday.
- Or Sunday.
Write a caption.
What's the caption gonna be for today?
- Oh, that's a nice one.
- Rebrexit's first Instagram photo.
[soft rock music] - I want to know, how long do cows live?
Do they give birth to more than one cow at a time?
How old are they before they start getting milked?
That's what I want to find out.
[quirky music] ♪ ♪ It's something I always wanted to do, is milk a cow.
In Liverpool, we didn't have many farms.
- That's a little bit-- it is childlike.
- And freeing, and-- - Yeah.
And really back to nature.
Away from the corporate world and back to a time gone by.
[soft rock music] [cows mooing] ♪ ♪ - Oh, my gosh.
[mouths] Oh, my gosh!
You capture the milk at the bottom of the udder, and then spray it out.
Get it, Mom.
- Come on then.
- The strongest-- - Oh, this is so good, isn't it?
- Hey, dear.
- So cute.
- Moommy's here.
- All gone!
[chuckles] - I want to get to a point where I don't even need a bucket list.
Like, I've done everything, you know?
- But you see, you'd have to be a mother, because to be a mother, you're gonna always put your kids first.
And because I have so many-- sacrificed really quite a lot, I've always said to my kids, "Go ahead, and make yourself happy, because it can come at a cost."
- My mom never expected to be a single mother.
She met my dad at a hotel where they both worked.
Pretty soon after, they had my brother.
But when my mom was pregnant with me, she discovered that my dad had another family.
I mean, I can't imagine that, Mom.
I can't imagine finding out that the man that you had a child with already-- - Already, and expecting another one.
I would never have known.
- Though my dad stayed in touch, my mom was left to raise both of us, financially and otherwise, on her own.
- It was sometimes very difficult, the things that people would say.
I mean, I remember, on one occasion, that the interior decorator said to me, "Oh, Rebecca, you're going to have a baby.
"It's going to be Black, but don't worry.
I'll still talk to you."
And I said, "I don't give a... "monkey's foot whether you talk to me or not.
It's my child, and I'll love it."
- I never apologize.
I can never apologize for having two Black children.
Two beautiful Black children.
It's only the American white people who had the problem.
I didn't have the problem.
[hip-hop music] - Hip-hop dancing--I loved it, but I was surprised that that was the one thing you wanted to do.
- The thing about having biracial children is that you can promote them and bring them up the way that you were brought up, and you can show them things and let them experience things, but you can't be inside them.
Dancing, and doing different videos and stuff like that, it's so natural.
Almost like you have the beat of the bongo in your feet.
I want to share that feeling.
- Let's see your best hip-hop moves.
- I don't know what a hip-hop move is.
Is it like this?
[laughter] - What are we gonna teach my mom today?
What's like-- - A little-- - Is this like an easy beginner session?
- This is your easy beginner session, Intro to Hip-Hop.
- This is Hip-Hop for Dumbos.
- Hip-Hop 101.
- You know what she said?
Hip-hop, to her, is like jelly moving, and she just wants to feel like that.
- Jelly moving.
- Push her to, like, roll.
You know, like, do it.
- Like, feel it.
- Get out of your comfort zone.
That's why we're here.
Just like that.
[laughter] [snapping fingers] Get that groove.
Get into it.
There you go.
Do you feel like Jell-O yet?
- Kind of?
- Jelly all over.
- All over.
Then step out.
There you go.
- Slay it, Mom.
- So I just want you to rock.
I love it.
Opposition's cool too.
I don't care.
- ♪ Get 'em up ♪ ♪ Get 'em, get 'em, get 'em up ♪ - ♪ Yeah, tell 'em all ♪ - ♪ Get 'em up, get 'em up ♪ - ♪ Tell 'em all ♪ - ♪ Get 'em up, get 'em up ♪ - ♪ Go on, girl ♪ - ♪ Get 'em up, get 'em up ♪ ♪ Go on, girl ♪ - ♪ Get 'em up, get 'em up ♪ - ♪ Uh, get 'em up, get 'em up ♪ ♪ And them glasses, we gon' fill 'em up, fill 'em up ♪ ♪ The situation change when there's ballers in the room ♪ ♪ Take a hit, and listen ♪ ♪ Then we headed to the moon ♪ ♪ I'm known around the world, I just got a flight ♪ ♪ Superstar status, I got money to swipe ♪ ♪ So tell 'em all ♪ - ♪ Get 'em up, get 'em up ♪ - ♪ Tell 'em all ♪ - ♪ Get 'em up, get 'em up ♪ - ♪ Tell 'em all ♪ - ♪ Get 'em up, get 'em up ♪ [jazz music] - My mom yearned to head back to Detroit.
It's where her life in this country started, and started to break down.
♪ ♪ At 28, Detroit was a city of firsts.
Her first marriage.
Her first child, Joanne.
And the first time work became her duty.
How did you actually get here?
- I came over here to promote British tourism.
- Do you remember how you met John?
- I met him through a friend, and then he invited me out, and then we dated.
He proposed to me, and we had our one daughter, Joanne.
It was difficult because he worked an awful lot, and we just became distant.
And we just agreed to, that it was time for us to divorce, which we did.
So I knew when he had gone, I had to worry about paying bills and stuff like that.
I didn't work until after my divorce.
- This is the hotel that you worked at.
The first hotel.
- It's gone.
It's all-- - Gone, gone, gone.
America has always been the place that people have dreamed to go.
The land of the future.
The land of opportunity.
The land to fulfill all your dreams.
- A sense of loss pervaded our Detroit trip, especially when I asked my mom to explain why she sent away her daughter Joanne, after her divorce.
She didn't want to open up about it, and I didn't want to force open a door that she wanted to keep closed.
- In 1973, just after Joanne was born, I had two lumps in my breast which had to be removed.
My sister came from England to take care of me, and I was so ill.
I only weighed 67 pounds.
I was very, very light.
Lost a lot of weight.
And that's when I sent Joanne to England.
[tense music] ♪ ♪ It was a hard choice to make, but I knew Joanne would be in better hands with my sister.
- When was the last time we saw her?
- Ten years ago.
- Are you excited about our trip to England?
- Yes, I am.
I've already written down the eight reservations you just made, so I'm gonna go with you to make sure that we print them all off in order, so there's no screwing around.
I'm very organized.
- Here we are, on the flight to London.
Here we go.
[hopeful music] ♪ ♪ Reuniting with Joanne wasn't just a moment for my mom.
It was really the first time I'd get to know my own sister.
- Oh, there you are!
- Are you all right?
Are you okay?
- You're looking great, Joanne.
Hey there, Layla.
Oh, you're as tall as I am, aren't you?
- Do you know, this doesn't seem real to me?
- And do you know what?
- Oh, that we're here?
I'm talking to you, but I don't-- - We're used to talking on the phone.
- And not--yeah.
It just doesn't seem like you're even here, to me.
[gentle music] ♪ ♪ - The one thing about family is that you can just drop off and pick up again, just like in about-- just like it was yesterday.
- It's just been a long time coming.
It was a privileged upbringing, but it wasn't really what I wanted, to be honest.
I just wanted my mum and dad.
- I always had a strong feeling that I wanted mum and dad to get back together.
I think that's every child's dream, isn't it now?
And then, she met your dad, and I was about eight, and she said, "I've met somebody else."
And then, I realized that my little dream was never gonna happen.
- Was there ever a sense of jealousy?
The feeling that she couldn't raise you, but she could raise two other people?
- Of course, it was a bit annoying.
I don't think I ever took it out on anybody.
- Have I?
I just-- Just annoying, and frustrating, and upsetting, but, you know, if it had affected me that much, I don't think we'd be in touch now, would we?
- You sent Joanne away when she was young.
- Like, that's a big deal, to want to send your child off.
I was sick.
I was sick.
- Why didn't she move in with her father, before you sending her away?
- He didn't offer.
Just, "Oh, let me get John."
I wasn't in contact with him as much, all the time.
It wasn't-- - Did he know you sent her away?
- Yes, he knew.
I couldn't work.
I didn't have daycare.
I was divorced from John.
Where would Joanne stay?
I had to--I was hospitalized.
- So was it a relief for you when she was gone?
- Well, it was--of course, it was a relief.
I knew she was being taken care of.
- When you're a strange person in America, and you've got no family here... - Right.
- And you've got a child, what are you going to do?
- You didn't go back and get her?
- Why not?
- Because she seemed happy there.
I talked to her every week.
- But-- - I do regret it, but I think it was for her best, and actually, they did very well.
They were very kind to her and very good to her.
- I think it's because she was sold on the idea that, "She's gone over to England.
"She's being brought up by people who've got plenty of money," without really a thought for me and how I would want to be brought up, but it was easier for her, God love her.
[somber music] ♪ ♪ I don't really have much confidence and self-worth with myself, 'cause I used-- I thought that-- I thought there was something wrong with me.
I thought that I was sent over here because there was something wrong with me.
- We've had this conversation for years now.
The same conversation.
She has to let go.
She has to let go.
I can't carry her baggage.
I have enough baggage of my own.
That's what makes you strong.
You have things happen to you, in your life.
You rise up, get over them, and you pick yourself up, and you start all over again.
- Did it ever dawn on you that she was not growing up with her mother, somebody else?
- Well, I realized that, but Auntie Elsie brought me up too.
My mother died when I was 17, and I had lived with Auntie Elsie.
- Who is your sister.
- Who is my sister.
For me, it was my mother that was bringing her up.
I had the same life that she had.
I said that my mother died, and my father sent me to live with Auntie Elsie.
That's what we do, in England.
You send them to family.
You have family.
- There's nothing worse than not knowing when you're gonna see somebody again, 'cause it'll run through your whole being, and you'll always be insecure.
You're looking for acceptance.
You're looking for, um, the-- [sighs] Just the worry.
You don't ever think anything ever good is gonna happen, because nothing ever has.
- One trip I had to make with our extended family is to the grave of my sister, Elsie.
Being on the job, I couldn't make the funeral.
[ambient music] ♪ ♪ - What was it like losing her?
Because she was sort of your best friend.
- She was my best friend.
She was like losing a mother.
I suppose it was the same thing.
When I was about eight, my mother started to get ill. My mother sent me over to Elsie's house, and me and my brothers, she brought us up.
I thought about her as my mother.
It's through Elsie's guidance that I've been able to have the lifestyle that I had.
Through her work ethic.
What it means to go to my sister's grave is, it's the first time I have the opportunity to say goodbye to her.
[weakly] I can't stay anymore.
I wish I'd come before.
[gentle music] ♪ ♪ There's a little bridge here.
So it'll just go right across, see?
Hold onto the plate, because... [all cheer] You did a great job, and look at our cakes.
- Thank you.
- And then, hashtag-- - Lovely to see you, too.
We'll see you in February, at least.
- Yeah, yeah.
We'll see you.
- In Florida-- - Very soon.
Don't cry, okay?
I'm not far away.
I'm only a phone call away, at any time, okay?
- Skype call away.
- Skype call away now.
I've got Skype on my thing.
I really enjoyed it, Layla.
[whimsical music] ♪ ♪ [line trilling] - All right.
- [sighs] [excited chatter] As soon as you send your résumé in and they see that you graduated from Lycee Royale in 1964 or whatever, you don't even get the interview.
And that's a shame, the age barrier.
The invisible age barrier.
I need help in seeking a new career.
I can use my great organizational skills.
I am fluent in French.
I do speak German and Spanish.
I have great customer service.
I've worked 24 hours a day.
The thing is, when you get to my age, you send out your résumé, and people think-- and they're thinking about the old Elsie with the walker.
[laughter] They don't want to meet you, because they have a thing in their heads.
So, it's great to have a room that people can see who you are, that you're walking, talking, breathing even.
And that's it, all right?
So, thank you.
- Thank you.
[applause] [hopeful music] ♪ ♪ - Are you excited about your first job interview?
- I am.
Yes, I am.
- So I was telling you yesterday that somebody-- I was watching a doc, and they were saying that you can't hide the fact that you're 75, but what you can do is act vibrant.
- Hello, I'm so excited!
[laughter] - Yes.
- How's the makeup?
- How's the makeup?
- I lightened under my eyes.
- You lightened under your eyes?
- So that you look, what?
What do you think?
- I think it looks-- I think it looks good.
You do look vibrant.
That's the main thing.
- All right.
What are you gonna be?
- Employed, I hope.
- I was gonna say "vibrant," but "employed" works.
How are you?
- Oh, yes!
So how did the interview go?
- I thought it went very well.
I was very happy.
- Think you got the new job?
Scale of 1 to 10.
- A 10.
[line trilling] I didn't get the job.
- Mom, maybe the job just wasn't the right fit.
You gotta keep applying.
- I'm scared.
I have, like, bills, and the job, and Gabriel.
And what's he gonna do?
And the thing is, the unemployment's run out now.
- I couldn't get my mom a job, but what I could do, as a journalist, was tell her story.
So I posted it online, not knowing who it would reach, but hoping it would reach someone who could help us.
Mom, you are on the homepage of "USA Today"!
[laughter] So will you be able to buy that and print it off?
It's only online.
[upbeat country music] ♪ ♪ On our way to the "Unhireable" radio show.
- And it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks.
- That's true.
- This is your life.
- People from around the world were touched by my mom's story and started to reach out.
"Hello from Sri Lanka."
- [gasps] Sri Lanka.
- "I think it's so great what you are doing.
"I can't wait to catch up with all your adventures.
"I hope you make it to Sri Lanka one day.
We'll take you to swim with dolphins."
- Sounds like fun.
Reply "sounds like fun."
- "I was just fired at 53 years old."
- "And I'm following in your footsteps "and doing things that I've always wanted to do.
You are inspiring and beautiful."
- Write back, "Good luck.
"Good luck with you, on your travels.
Stay in touch."
- What became evident, as we went through the comments, was how many people or people's parents had been let go late in life.
Some were forced to retire, and others were terminated on account of charges they say never actually happened.
My mom's story was more universal than we could have ever imagined.
- People get old.
And everybody plans for going to school, getting good education, going to a job, doing well in the job, getting bonuses, getting promotions.
But there is little thought given to what happens after you're no longer a productive, or perceived to be a productive or a valuable member of that company.
What provision is made for people to continue living a lifestyle that they've worked so long for and have had to sacrifice for?
You cannot put a price on sacrifice.
- Throughout our journey, my mom had the opportunity to make up for those sacrifices, to mend some of life's tears that, in many ways, were wrought by her reliance on a job.
[line trilling] - Hi.
- Hello, everybody.
- Can you see us okay?
- Oh, that's good.
[laughter] - Can't believe it.
No, but I think that we both look alike.
Me and mother.
- Oh, definitely.
- Oh, absolutely.
And even Layla has the look.
Sorry, Layla, but you look a little like me too.
- Yeah, you do.
- I don't think that she'll ever forgive me.
However, we have been in contact almost every day now.
And she's coming to stay, for three weeks, in America, in February.
I think maybe with the mistakes I've made with Joanne, I want Layla to understand the importance of family connections and staying in touch and in being part of a family.
- All right, then.
Well, we'll talk to you tomorrow, though.
- Layla, I didn't get to talk much to you, but I enjoyed seeing you, okay?
And we'll talk tomorrow, okay?
And you'll see me dressed up, okay?
- All righty.
- I love you.
- I love you too, and lovely to see you, okay?
- Love you.
You need to press end.
I don't know how to do it.
[hangs up] - It's my mom's birthday, everybody.
Road trip beginning now, to the Adirondacks.
How do you feel, at 77?
- I feel great.
Another 77 to go.
- Let's get the look.
Stop right there, please.
Did you ever think you would look so good at 77 years old?
[laughter] - Yeah.
- I would like to share this one special, little card made by Gabriel Regis, and it touches me.
One of the great joys of being a mother is to see love just come out in simple ways.
And this is a birthday card that Gabriel handmade.
And he's drawn a picture of me and him together, just holding some balloons.
And of all the cards I received, I have to say, this is the one I will treasure for a long time.
It shows that he's-- he's thinking of me.
- How's he doing?
- He's doing okay.
[uplifting music] ♪ ♪ For my final bucket list, I wanted to go skydiving, because I heard it makes you feel really free.
[tranquil music] ♪ ♪ - Today's the day.
- I know.
- Are you excited?
- I'll be more excited when it's over.
- I don't think you need to do your hair.
I don't know if it's gonna matter.
- No, my hair always matters.
There you go.
- Well, of course, I'm nervous.
Well, I won't know really, 'cause I have nothing-- Things are only as good as you can compare them to.
I've not done anything like this before.
- It's how you build it up in here.
- Yeah, so we'll try it out and see how it goes.
- Excited for this?
- Oh, yeah!
Here we come, sky.
- This could be the last time you use your legs, so... - That's right.
- Enjoy 'em.
- They were a good, old pair of legs too.
- They were, weren't they?
- They registered 14 miles a day on the pedometer, at work.
- Just breathe, Mom.
- Yeah, yeah.
- All right.
- The crew will get us out of here.
Sian is here.
Are you all right?
- Oh, I'm sorry.
[suspenseful music] ♪ ♪ - Right here.
- How's my mom?
- Oh, yeah.
[cheers and applause] - Oh!
- Look at your hair.
- Oh, my hair.
The terror when the wind hit me in the face.
I was thinking to myself, "Oh, no.
This isn't for me."
- "Let me off."
[chuckles] Well, that was it.
That was a resignation thing.
I accepted it.
I knew what I had to do, and I did it.
- I did it.
We did it.
[chuckles] - I just wonder how you see the job loss, three years in.
- What has happened is that I have realized that the world is a much bigger place and extends much further than the walls of my office and my job.
I've had the time to reflect on what-- actually, a lot of time I have wasted by not serving my own needs ahead of other people's.
My time is as valuable as anybody else, and I have the right to choose it in a way that makes me happy.
And I'm beginning to understand what happiness is.
[uplifting music] ♪ ♪ - Okay, Mom.
This is it.
Are you sad?
- Kind of relieved, to tell you the truth.
Been a long haul for you, I know.
I know it has been a long time, and for you too.
3 1/2 years.
Like, we're both sort of different individuals.
- I'm the same.
I'm just stronger.
- Are you worried about your future, or are you just taking it one day at a time?
- I'm taking it one day at a time now.
There's nothing I can do.
I can work part-time.
I can find maybe some affordable housing, for once I have to leave this-- where I'm living right now.
Uh, I'm not worried for me.
What I'm worried about is Gabriel.
Who's gonna look out for him?
Who can take care of him?
- I understand that it's my responsibility, you know, and I'll be there for him.
I think it's gonna be hard for me to be as strong as you are.
You know, know that I've learned a lot from you, in terms of how to do it.
And I hope that, you know, if and when you're not here, I'm able to continue that.
So I hope that gives you some sort of peace.
I think I learned how to be an advocate from watching you and Gabriel.
Like having to fight for you, and for your housing, and for, you know, like, you just to survive.
I mean, it's like a non-stop fight, and I guess I never realized that everybody needed an advocate, just to survive.
- That's true.
I mean, there are a lot of people here without a son, or a daughter, or a family member here.
No way of getting help.
Just thank you for sacrificing so much, because that all gave me the courage to fight for you.
- Well, you know that it's a mum's gift to give all those things, but it's a son's gift to accept them as gracefully as you have, and to run with it, and to show the world what you can do with support.
I love you.
It's been a long journey, but we did it.
- We did it!
- All right.
[uplifting music] ♪ ♪ - How do you feel?
- Go get 'em out there today.
- I'm ready, yeah.
I'm looking forward to it.
I'm learning to be on the other side of the fence, the one taking the orders.
[laughter] - Do you think you'll be happy going back to work?
- Well, I think so.
I think it's gonna get my life together and work out.
- But I just wish you didn't have to work at 78.
- I got a new job.
It's at the Back Bay Hilton, which is a very nice hotel, and it's just part-time.
In fact, the guy that hired me was a guy that used to work for me.
My job is more physically demanding than the jobs I've had for the past four years, so I am physically doing the jobs I always had other people do.
I never imagined that I would be working at a lesser position, but it fits in with my lifestyle right now, which is a retirement lifestyle.
I can do this job as long as they need me.
I need this job as long as I am.
But, on the other hand, when I leave my shift, I'm not taking the work home with me anymore.
See you next week.
[hopeful music] ♪ ♪ [lively music] ♪ ♪ [dramatic music] ♪ ♪ [vocalizing] ♪ ♪