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My wife and I recently went on a trip to Islamorada in the Florida Keys for our third wedding anniversary and to Palm Beach for a business meeting. What a striking reminder that we very much still live in a Tale of Two Cities.

At lunch and dinner, my wife and I would overhear well-heeled people bragging about their stock portfolios, their retirement plans, and so on. Then we would return to the hotel and see the maids, working diligently and quietly, being ignored by the hotel guests.

I couldn’t help but to think of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo’s speech at the 1984 Democratic Convention, a speech known as his “Tale of Two Cities” speech. In his address, Cuomospeaks of the wealthy enjoying their “shining city on a hill,” but notes that there’s another city; there’s another part to the shining city; the part where some people can’t pay their mortgages, and most young people can’t afford one; where students can’t afford the education they need, and middle-class parents watch the dreams they hold for their children evaporate.” 

Ever since our trip, I keep wondering if there is a business model for a cleaning business where premium prices are charged but the maids are paid a fair wage and treated with the respect and dignity they deserve?

Entrepreneurship can be an incredible driving force for social justice, if only we have the courage to take a little risk and act.

Best Regards,

Ryan Torrens

Consumer litigation attorney