Cuban UPS driver Yoel Diaz celebrates ‘first American payday’

Since Yoel Diaz moved to America from Cuba, his wife Marissa Diaz has been documenting some of the key experiences in the country.

This includes his first trip to the grocery store, the first time he walked into a Wal-Mart, and most recently the first time he received a paycheck from his first job in America.

The solemn moment, which his wife captured and posted on Instagram, has been viewed there more than three million times.

“It was a special moment for him,” Marissa Diaz of Pheonix, Arizona, told Fox News Digital about her husband.

Yoel Diaz, 37, started a seasonal job with United Parcel Service (UPS) a few weeks ago, his wife said.

He got his first paycheck last week.

Joel Diaz

In Cuba, Yoel Diaz worked as a professor and earned $13 a month.

Joel Diaz

Yoel Diaz celebrated his first American paycheck after immigrating to the US from Cuba.

“Everything was new to him [such as] apply – he didn’t know what a CV was. Job interview, everything,” she said.

Yoel Diaz came to the US in 2021 on a K1 visa and then applied for residency.

Once approved, he was given a work permit form and social security number.

This process took about a year, Marissa Diaz said.

In Cuba, Yoel worked as a professor, earning $13 a month.

His current paycheck is over $13 a month – but his wife said it all means a lot more to him than actual money.

“For the first time he has a chance to dream,” said his wife.

Yoel echoed his wife’s thought, saying his paycheck meant he would “finally have a chance at a better” life.

“In Cuba you would get paid and you know you’ll never get better,” Yoel Diaz told Fox News Digital in a statement in Spanish that his wife translated into English.

“It would be the same. This time I can finally dream – I can help my family and this is the first step in my new life where I can now be whoever I want to be.”

In a statement to Fox News Digital, a UPS representative said, “This story really warms our hearts and we’re thrilled to have Yoel on our team.”

(See the video below, created by the couple, which they posted on Instagram. It is shared here with permission and appears as they posted it. It also appears at the top of this article.)

When asked about his dreams for the future while still living in America, Yoel Diaz said: “My dream is to be able to provide for myself and my family. I want to support my wife’s dream of storytelling and would like to travel the country and the world to discover it.”

He added, “[That’s] something the Cuban dictatorship never allowed me to do.”


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