1. David Ambroz: From Empathy to Action - How We Fight Against Poverty and Hopelessness. Patrick Huey 56:44

The Magnificat

There are no real adjectives to describe David Ambroz’s life as a child. Words like filthy, abused, and dejected sanitize the experience of what life must have been like for a seven-year-old David, precariously washing his clothes in the bathroom sink of a Wendy’s. His young eyes anxiously scanning the locked door, hoping that no one will barge in and interrupt his inconsistent cleansing ritual that for a moment, but not completely, removes the foul stench of poverty and homelessness engulfing him and his siblings. A scarcity wrought by their mother, a complex woman fighting her own demons of mental illness. Trying to unravel a system not interested in lives and uplifting humanity but driven by poll tested phrases like “personal responsibility.” Glib, disconnected slogans shouted by well-heeled officials into echo chambers of comfortable, ill informed, and unconcerned agreement. A system that David describes as a pipeline to prison and generational poverty.

This is the gritty and oftentimes unimaginable world of David’s beautiful and necessary memoir A Place Called Home. His story is at times heartbreaking. At times grotesque. And then again hopeful even as the thief called doom lurks in the corner, biding his time. And in these stories, we the reader need a totem on which to place our blame. Someone to stand as factor for our fears of what the lives of people like David trapped in these circumstances mean about us. And since the system is too big, and the well-dressed officials too far away, David’s mom, Mary, has become the focus of the outrage. 

This is not Saint Luke’s Mary of the Magnificat, rejoicing in the glory and the power of the Lord at her divine and blessed favor. This is the Mary who beats her kids. Risks all their lives. And drifts into an almost catatonic state, chain smoking cigarettes as her children silently starve. Through it all David has a dream, that the hand of God touches his mother’s head – the way He touched the other Mary’s womb – to still her restlessness and allow the true Mary she is to come through. So he can get to know her. Talk to that Mary. His mom.  

Throughout our conversation, the theme of forgiveness is rampant. It is liberal. Especially for Mary. As David says, “I perhaps am too forgiving, but it makes me the hopeful, pragmatic optimist that I am today to believe that we can do better… I will not become numb, I will not become a pessimist, I will continue to believe that we can make the world a better place.”

The dedication from David at the beginning of A Place Called Home reads, “To my mother, who taught me to understand and forgive . . . to conquer one impossible thing at a time.”

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Patrick Huey Global Hospitality Executive, Creator & Host At the Podium Podcast

With over 20 years of experience in the global luxury hospitality and wellness industries, Patrick has built a dynamic career as an international leader within this elite field, running multimillion-dollar operations successfully by delivering the highest levels of performance and guest satisfaction.

Patrick has worked for such iconic brands as Four Seasons Hotels, Montage Resorts, Equinox and Sandals Resorts.Patrick serves as Chairman of the Board for the International Spa Association – the premier spa association with a presence in over 70 countries that fosters the development and professionalism of the global spa and wellness industries.

Patrick holds a Master of Fine Arts from Yale School of Drama in Acting and a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University in Creative/Nonfiction Writing, English Literature and Theatre.

He is also the Creator and Host of the podcast and video podcast “At the Podium with Patrick Huey” which has reached over 600,000 people since its inception in 2021. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube, the show and its weekly newsletter focus on sharing the stories of people from a diverse background of lives, careers and experiences who have stepped boldly into saying “yes” to the unexpected and transformational detours of their lives.