© Edwin Torres
Bella Santiago Rodriquez
Flat Fix Shop, 1245 Jerome Ave, Bronx NY
Bella Santiago Rodriquez, a 21-year-old native Brazilian, hangs around the Flat Fix Shop on 1245 Jerome Avenue, where she’s made a new group of friends that she calls family. She came from Brazil five months ago because of family issues. She hopes to find work at one of the flat fix shops along Jerome Avenue.
“From Brazil, Rio de Janiero, moved to Bronx four or five months ago. I had problems at home with family. Jerome Avenue can have its up and downs. At night you dont want to be seen walking up and down here. Everything changed when I met these guys (guys at Auto Shop on 1245 Jerome Ave). Since just meeting them once and them telling me to come and hang out here I started hanging out almost everyday. Its like family these men are like my brothers, fathers, cousins, and grandfathers. I want to get a job here. If a female can take the bullshit of dealing with the guys messing with you, making fun, and mount up still do your job and stack up the tires as little as I am. I mean thats balls. And for you to learn how to bounce them and how to paint them. You never see a female working at a tire shop anymore. Besides her working as a secretary in the front office. thats the only type of female you see. So not coming off as a sexist I would like to change the role a little bit. I can roll with the big boys. They know not to mess with me. When it comes to me doing my work and me doing my business I am serious. Thats my money you are dealing with.I think I am more comfortable around this area. I was just walking down Jerome one day on my way home. When I ran into these guys and they were having a little cookout and I was like okay free food!”