Philadelphia Bus Driver a Polish Hero

(Image Credit: Passport Photo)

A Philadelphia bus driver is being hailed as a national hero in his homeland of Poland 25 years after protesting communism with a greased pig.

Andrzej Sekowski spent a year in a Polish prison after sending a slippery swine squealing through the streets of communist Gdansk in 1985 with a red ribbon on its tail and the words "I'm voting" painted in black on its flank, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

"People laughed," said Sekowski, now 64, who worked as a bus driver in the coastal town of Sopot at the time, according to the Inquirer.

The move bought Sekowski a two-year sentence that started in a 6-by-9-foot cell with seven other inmates. He was released after 12 months, but found himself blacklisted. Unable to work, the married father of a young daughter was forced to pack up his family and flee Poland for the United States with six duffle bags and no English.

"I can't begin to describe the sacrifices he's made," Sekowski's daughter, Kamila Sekowski Swartz, told the Inquirer. "He could have done a number of things, but he gave it all up for his country and so future generations could have a better life."

Sekowski found work cutting grass, pumping gas and driving an airport shuttle before being hired by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, where he still works seven days a week, the Inquirer reported.

"Everyone wants to know why," said Sekowski, who lives 30 miles from Philadelphia in Phoenixville, Pa. "I was 40 when I arrived with my daughter and wife, and $120 in my pocket. I am trying to catch up."

On Sept. 26, the family drove to New York City for a ceremony in which Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski acknowledged Sekowski's stand against communism six years before Poland became a democratic country.

"The president said, 'Thank you,'" Kamila Sekowski Swartz told the Inquirer, "and added what the country was doing was too little, too late. And I agree with that."

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