One-Way Ticket Economy
Yet another reason why I’m not a big fan of Las Vegas.
A Gamble On Hitting The Payroll In Las Vegas
For Texas Couple, Living On Margin Just Got Worse
By David Finkel, Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 31, 2003; Page A01
LAS VEGAS: The worst year in the life of Alex Arreguin III ends where it began, in the Greyhound bus station on Main Street.
This time Arreguin, 43, isn’t arriving, he’s leaving. It isn’t midnight, but the afternoon, and instead of walking out of the bus station, he is sitting on the dirty floor while his companion, Diane Garcia, 39, is out front, wrestling down her doubts with a cigarette.
Stay or go? That’s what she is out there wondering.
What happened? That’s what he is wondering.
In search of a better life, the two came here from recession-hit Texas last summer. With Las Vegas’s distinction as the fastest-growing area of the United States, there seemed no better place for two people to find good jobs.
But 54 weeks have taught them a hard-earned truth: that in a fragile economy, if one thing goes wrong, a person on the margins can very quickly skid into what they have become — broke, jobless and without a home. Silly with promise when they arrived, they are now creatures of charity, from the donated clothes they are wearing, to the dismal places they have been sleeping, to the bus tickets back to Houston that they were presented with just an hour before by a local social services organization.