Lady Liberty: Living the American Dream

Lady Liberty: Living the American Dream

Lady Liberty drops her daughter at day care, then ducks into the Save-A-Lot for a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke. It’s going to be hot today.

 

She zips the soda into her backpack, hops on her electric scooter and steers into a strip mall.

 

At 9:55 a.m., inside a small office, she wriggles into her costume. The sea-foam green, crushed-velvet robe slides over her black T-shirt and jeans. The long drape loops off her left shoulder, spills across her dusty sneakers.

 

“I’m heading out,” she calls to her boss. It’s 10 days before tax day.

 

Give me your tired, your poor, the real Statue of Liberty says. Patty McCaslin fits the description. As Lady Liberty, she earns $7.67 an hour — minimum wage — to lure drivers inside to have their taxes done. She breathes exhaust all day. Her eyes get tired from squinting in the sun. Her face hurts from smiling. Her arms ache from waving. Her feet throb.

 

Sometimes people give Lady Liberty the finger.

 

McCaslin, 35, has a husband, a daughter, a home, two jobs, no medical insurance — and a $6,000 tax bill she can’t possibly pay.

 

“But when I’m out here in costume,” she says, “I feel like I’m making it. Like we’re going to make it.”