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Community rallies behind teen after boss refuses to let him off work for graduation


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    PHOENIX (KPHO KTVK) — At just 19 years old, Luis Gastelum has responsibilities not many teens can relate to. Two years ago, the immigrant from Mexico came to Arizona for a better life. When he isn’t studying or playing soccer, he is working to provide for his 14-year-old sister.

“I came here for one reason. It was for my mom and my family. I just wanted to give them the best,” said Gastelum. Now he is approaching a major milestone: high school graduation. But his job almost prevented him from attending the celebratory moment. Luis works at the Marshalls Distribution Center in Phoenix. He said his boss wouldn’t give him the day off and threatened to fire him if he didn’t show up this weekend.

“I was lost, to be honest. Lost because it is not just myself. I have my sister and me. It is only me and her. I am like her dad. So, I worry more about her,” said Gastelum.

When one of his teachers learned what was happening, he stepped up to help. On Thursday, Shayman Richardson started a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Gastelum. It has grown to more than $2,400 in less than 11 hours. Richardson said it is all so Gastelum can walk away from his job and attend graduation.

“He is brilliant. I have seen him come through so much adversity and he is so humble. He continues to smile, keeps going and going and going,” said Richardson.

On Thursday, Arizona’s Family reached out to TJX, the company that owns Marshalls. A spokesperson said the company is now working with Luis to get him the day off.

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Article Topic Follows: Health

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