For months, Prince Moyo would get up and go to work, then return home to his quiet two-bedroom apartment in Dallas. He was alone, with his family half a world away.
Prince's fiancée, Bee, had been trying to come to the United States to be with him, but a lengthy visa application process kept her in their native South Africa. And, in the meantime, the couple had welcomed their first child, making the separation even more trying.
'It was a long wait, trying to make sure we were a complete family - instead of one on one side [of the world] and one on the other side,' said Prince, the operations manager at our Best Buy distribution center in Flower Mound, Texas.
Now, the family is finally together. After Bee's visa application was approved in early January, Prince flew to Johannesburg. He returned on Feb. 6 with her and their 8-month-old son, Jay, in tow.
'It was a dream come true,' Prince said.
And it's a journey he says he couldn't have gotten through without the support of his Best Buy family.
A long wait
Prince and Bee met at church before he moved to the U.S. in 2008, and they stayed in touch by chatting via a messaging app. They start dating about three years ago, with Prince returning to South Africa to visit every six months.
They got engaged in September 2018 and immediately started making plans for Bee to move to the U.S. She applied for a K-1 (fiancée) visa, and they expected the approval process to take about six to eight months. But the wait dragged on much longer.
It was a long wait, trying to make sure we were a complete family
In October 2018, they found out Bee was pregnant. The couple held a traditional wedding ceremony with their families the following February, but the legal ceremony had to be put on hold because they were in the middle of the visa process.
Prince took a seven-week leave of absence from his job at Best Buy so he could be in South Africa for his son's birth last June. He stayed until Jay was about 20 days old, then returned to Dallas alone.
The weeks that followed passed slowly for Prince, who struggled with having to 'parent remotely' and miss so many milestones from Jay's first year. Bee adjusted her schedule, sleeping during the day so she could help Prince stay connected with Jay at night. She sent videos from Jay's doctor appointments so Prince could feel like he was there. And she shared numerous photos, which Prince was always eager to share with his Best Buy co-workers.
'I was that guy who would be showing you each and every picture, because I was getting pictures almost every hour,' he said.
Throughout that time, the distribution center's leaders would check in on Prince regularly to see how the visa process was going and to make sure he was aware of the company benefits that might help. They also offered him schedule flexibility so he could meet with his attorney as they prepared for Bee and Jay arrive.
'It was very hard, but I really appreciated the company that I work for and the support from the senior leadership team,' Prince said. 'They were very invested in my story, and they were making sure they were accommodating me as much they could. I don't think I could have done it without that support.'
A supportive family
The day after the family landed in the U.S., Prince brought Bee and Jay to the distribution center so they could meet his co-workers, who helped get him through the hardest days.
'Just to go see where he works and feel the love from the people he works with, I felt like they are family,' Bee said. 'I felt like I had known them way before I even met them.'
It was a special day for everyone involved.
'It was so cool. It was really emotional,' said Chase Christman, the distribution center's senior general manager. 'All of our leaders and team members were excited to see that. … You could tell when he stepped foot in the building, he was lighter.'
Meanwhile, Prince and his family are adjusting to what it's like to live together for the first time. The biggest challenge has been for Bee and Jay to adjust to the time change, an eight-hour difference between Dallas and Johannesburg. Jay still wakes up - singing - at around 3 a.m. every day.
They're happy to be sharing those moments together. And they have more big moments planned, as Prince and Bee are planning to get legally married in April. She'll then be able to apply for a green card, which would grant her permanent residency.
'Pinch me. I still feel like I'm dreaming, and I'm going to wake up and be back in South Africa,' Bee said. 'It's been amazing. It was worth the wait.'
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