A Conversation With A Vato

A Conversation With A Vato  

By Chance, chancellorfiles.com

I was walking in down town Los Angeles early Wednesday morning, and as I stood at the corner there was a young Latino guy who appeared to be in his mid to late twenties. He started a conversation with me,

as our conversation continued he told me that he had cut his hand at work.

He showed me his index finger that had many stitches on it. The cut was very long, and the row of stitches were long also. He was a mestizo Latino, very intelligent young man, with a bald clean shaven head, no facial hair totally shaven, blue jeans, tan colored jacket, and he had a nice yellowish tan beige skin color.


Basically he and I both had the same skin color. As the conversation progressed he revealed that he had his driver’s license suspended for drunk driving. He then said — he was arrested a second time for DUI because he drove his car on a suspended license, and the police pulled him over — and arrested him, and took him to jail.

The judge gave him probation for the second DUI. He then told me this past weekend he was driving his car again with suspended license, and the police pulled him over, the officer found out that he had a suspended driver’s license. On top of that he was drunk, so he got hit with his third DUI (driving under the influence). The Officer wrote him a ticket — but he said the officer did not take him to jail but he has to show up in court Monday. The young man’s eyes looked worried and sad, I felt sorrow for him.

He was worried about going to Los Angles county jail to do some time on the third DUI. I asked him did he have kids he said he had three. His eyes were black, and he looked tired and very worried. He said why do I drink, and get drunk look at were it has gotten me. Drinking is not good for me. All of this happened to me because of drinking. The young Latino just needed me to listen, and not give advice. He needed to have someone hear his story, and not try to find a solution to the problem.

I could sense that he just wanted me to listen, and I was honored to have been chosen by this handsome young man to hear his inner sorrow, the regret, and the worry. You see he did me a favor that morning also, he allowed me to empathize, sympathize, and to be tender hearted. He allowed me to tap into that emotional side of myself that empathize with the sadness and emotional suffering of others. I felt tender inside listening to him share his life experience. I felt human. His sharing took away some of the numbness that I have in my heart. Living in a big city like Los Angeles can make you numb because tragedy, suffering, inner emotional pain, etc and this numbness is too some degree needed because without it you can’t live here.

But once in awhile an encounter with another person can open up the door of empathy, sympathy, and compassion. These encounters touch the human and tender side of your inner self. And they leave such a powerful impression on your inner being, that when you think about those precious encounters a well of emotions swell up inside of you. Through this young man’s tragedy he gave me the opportunity to feel those intangible sentiments that bind man to man. I hope the judge gives him mercy, maybe increase his probation – no jail time. I feel this third time he may have learned his lesson about drunk driving which could cause someone’s death. It will be a lesson well learned.  

Thank you, Vato for the emotional hug. Vato is Mexican Spanish slang for a dude or guy.

que paso vato (what’s up dude)? Sometimes it is used on the streets to mean homeboy — but it basically means dude or guy. Vata is for the female. 

  1. Elle

    Wow, you feel sorry for this vato?

  2. Chance

    @ Elle,

    Yeah, he and I spoke for awhile. It reminded me of the times when I was in the streets living a thug life myself in Cali. I learned from my negative experiences. It better to help build up society.

  3. Teraye01

    Good post Chance!

    I can relate to you saying that the conversation you had with this young man allowed you to tap into your inner feelings and reflect on things that have happened in your own personal life. I too have met people throughout my life that have shared their stories with me and gave me the opportunity to reflect on things that have happened in my life. These peoples stories have also helped towards teaching me how to feel compassion and understanding for someone and their life situations; even if I can’t completely relate. Although hard work and positive influences usually lead to a successful life, sometimes people cannot prevent the bad things or circumstances life can bring; and if no one offers any help to a person who’s faced with a problem, it can make it that much harder for the person to rise above their problem.

  4. Lil

    NICE ONE, mate! U’re a GREAT role model for all the Vatos & Homiez out there – that a cat can turn his life around.


  5. Lil

    No doubt, I got NUTTIN’
    but LOVE fo’ Da Homeez!
    Ain’t NOBODY Perfect!

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