There are probably as many stories at the State Fair of Texas as there are the endless gallons of corny dog mustard. But this story we found on the bright yellow State Fair tram.
“I’m having a good time. I look forward to it every year,” said tram driver Gilbert Vasquez. “I really enjoy this. And I hope that I do this until I'm old and gray.”
But for the six years he’s been a tram driver, he’s been looking for a particular face in the crowd.
Fifteen years ago he was a security guard at the Family Gateway shelter in downtown Dallas. He remembers the night vividly. It was 2 a.m., and a woman, from a back room, began yelling for help. She was in labor and Gilbert was the first person to reach her.
"I delivered a baby girl,” he said.
A healthy baby girl. Just him, the mom, and the baby in the room alone.
"The paramedics came. Everything happened so fast,” he said. “And they left the shelter and I lost track of them. And I've been looking ever since for her."
"I wonder all the time how they're doing. I don't even know the little girl's name. And if I could meet her one time, I think I would be very happy to meet her."
He says he only knows the mom’s name was LaToya. And that little baby would now be a 15-year-old girl.
"It blew me away when I heard it myself,” said co-worker and tram conductor Dwayne Smith, who said he believes Gilbert’s search is genuine. He said Gilbert thinks about it most every day.
"I think he does because he told me I think I seen her or seen her there or a flash of a person that looks like her,” Smith said.
A man hoping to meet the little girl he helped bring into the world. Just to know that she's OK.
"And I'm hoping it comes to a happy ending,” said Smith.
That's all Gilbert Vasquez says he's looking for, too.
"I don't know if she wants to meet me. Maybe they don't even want to meet me,” he said. “[Maybe they don't want to know anything about that particular episode in their life. Maybe they want to forget about it. I don't know."
"I would just say hello, how are you doing, it's good to meet you. I've been waiting your whole life to meet you."
A meeting, with that one face in the crowd, that might finally make his 15-year journey complete.
Founded by Mayor Annette G. Strauss in 1986, Family Gateway has served homeless families with children for thirty years. Last year Family Gateway served 446 families including 970 children.