The Race To Help Mase

HI Everyone, my name is Mathieu Ghassem. Some of you may know me simply as “Mase.”  I’m a thirty-year-old Directeur d'Exploitation at Seguin Sound, a craft brewery opening-up just north of Paris and Manager of Corcoran’s Sace Coeur. Although I was born in France, and have lived in Paris for the last seven years, the Met’s cap I wear every day and my affection for cheeseburgers tells you that my story didn’t start here in Europe. Before arriving alone in Paris at the age of twenty-three, I l had lived in the United states for almost twenty-one years.

I came to the United States at the age of two and grew up in in a mid-sized town called Old Bridge, New Jersey, where my parents owned a local bagel store called Bagel Time.  My mother was of French nationality, and my father from Iran. Complications during the nineties pressured my parents to leave their homes and all they knew and try to start a new life pursing their version of the American dream.  

My parents were staples of the town I grew up in. I watched in amazement as each day they would get up at two-thirty in the morning to begin making bagels for the town, often arriving home after six pm, covered in flour and sweat, seven days a week, to provide an excellent life in America for me, my brothers, and my sister. When I got older, I too would work long hours in the bagel store, serving the loyal customers of Old Bridge and supporting myself financially. Even further complicating things  for me was my immigration status. Even though I had lived in the U.S my entire life and was brought there as a child, I was never able to get full U.S citizenship. I went to elementary school, middle school, high school, and college in the United States and was still unable to chase the American dream or live a normal American life like my peers. Changes to immigration policy after 9/11 made my dream of being a citizen impossible. 

I had tough choices to make about my future. I could work in the bagel store with my parents, or I could not rely on systems and other people to shape my identity and tell me what I should be. I considered what it would take for someone like me to be their own man. I would have to walk away from everything I had ever known.

I made the decision to get on a plane and go to Paris at the age of twenty-three.

US immigration lawyers assured me that getting on a plane  meant I might never see my friends or family again. It meant I might never see my mom again, who I love more than anything in the world. But, what I wanted most, more than anything else, was my own identity. I wanted to chase my own version of the American dream that I felt i was entitled to. 

When I landed on French soil the first thing I did was get my French ID card, and I shared pictures of it with everyone I knew. I cried for hours at having a cultural identify for the first time in my life, mesmerized by the picture with my name next to it, something I had never had before. From there, I restarted my life from scratch.

Without knowing a single person, having a place to stay, or having any knowledge of how the French government worked, I took a job as a barback at company called Corcoran’s and slowly began to rebuild my life as a French citizen. I worked seventy hours a week, blood, sweat, and tears to rebuild my life and move up in the company.

Things got better from there. I rebuilt my life and am living a comfortable life as a French person. I have an apartment, friends, a good job, all the things I wanted in the United States. And now, as of recently, I’ve been reunited with my Mom here in Paris. Hugging and kissing her after seven years apart was the happiest day of my life.

Now, finally, I am presented with an amazing opportunity to be a shareholder in a local microbrewery here in Paris alongside the men that have helped me create a stable and fulfilling life, as well as becoming a second family to me when I did not have one. By investing in this company that I have put my heart and soul into since the beginning of the journey I embarked on, I will finally have the stability to provide for my family that I have here with me now, as well as my future family.  

Any support I receive to help me achieve this goal, whether it be a monetary donation or sharing my story with others, I would greatly appreciate. All donations go directly into my investment of the microbrewery, which in turn helps me become an established partner in a place I believe In and have worked in for seven years.

In turn, every person that helps me reach this goal will be helping me achieve my dream of being able to take care of my family, who took care of me and so many others while running their business Bagel Time, and investing in something I believe in.

And of course, Ice cold brew waiting for anyone that would like to come visit
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Matt Ghassem 
Old Bridge, NJ
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