An Early Shift, as a Favor
At 25, Telmo Alvear, who immigrated from Ecuador as a teenager, was assembling the pieces of a good life. His son, Steven, had just turned 1. His wife, Blanca, was studying computerized accounting at a Midtown technical college.
And a month ago, he quit a busboy job to become a waiter at Windows on the World, for much higher tips. He liked serving fancy meals and was beginning to learn about wine.
Off duty, Telmo was usually at home with his family in Queens, watching soccer on television or cooking dinners of seafood or pasta for relatives and friends. On weekend afternoons, he joined his team at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park for some hard-hitting volleyball. When he and his friends went dancing with their wives and girlfriends, he would make a point of dancing with as many of the women as he could.
Telmo was assigned to the night shift at Windows on the World. But on Monday, another waiter told him he could not make the breakfast shift, and Telmo agreed to cover for him. The friend promised to return the favor soon.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on September 19, 2001.