This American Life: For July 4th, a story about someone who’s desperately trying – against long odds – to make it to the United States and become an American.
Act One: Reporter Jack Hitt tells the story of how he helped organize tenants and threaten a rent strike in a New York City building back in the 1980s. Before long, Bob, the building super, became his enemy. The situation got pretty ugly. Mobster ugly. Bob began to brag about how important he was in his native Brazil, how he could kill a person and be immune from prosecution. It was only many years later that Jack found out how dangerous Bob really was.
Act Two: Josh Bearman’s favorite story was told to him by his super. It involved these elements: A gas station, a beautiful woman, an orchid, a snowman, Indonesia, and a check for $30,000. But when Josh decided to try and publish the story in a magazine, it changed everything.
Act Three: A man we’re calling “Dennis” inherits his father’s job as a landlord of a big apartment building. His dad had warned him that bad tenants could drive even a good man to become heartless, but Dennis vowed that would never happen to him. He’s tested on this point when he tries to help a couple that falls behind in their rent. He sets up a payment plan for them, teaches them how to make a budget, helps them with their personal problems. For six years, he stops himself from kicking them out.