Humbleness is the clue

By Jonathan Torres Rodríguez

She may seem a common person to everyone that does not know her, but the truth is that most people of Cayey know who is Yoli.

“I have always loved to deal with people of ages, I think it is in my nature,” Yoli says.

Iris Yolanda Rodríguez, mostly known in Cayey as Yoli, is a humble, a hard-working person. She is an admirable woman who is a tireless fighter for working with patients, and  doing multiple tasks as the mother of three sons. She would surely make your day start in a good mood. She is short, with short brown hair, and white skin.

“I could say that she is my heroine because after listening to all her background and anecdotes since she was a little girl, I have concluded that she is worthy of being an admirable woman,” says her mother, Paula.

Yoli was born on June 29th, 1962 , in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, and she is the youngest daughter of the family.

“My family was very poor. We did not even have a bathroom. There was a small latrine in the back of my house. Our house was a low cost one. In my neighborhood almost all houses were low cost made,” recalls Paula. These houses were houses made by a group of male residents that gathered up to build cheap houses.

When she was a child, her hair was long to her knees. “When she was in elementary school her classmates used to tie her hair to the chair. It was very painful for her. Her classmates used to bully her and that was something that marked her life since the beginning,” says Paula.

“One day she went to a religious activity and one kid put a candle in her hair and it started to burn. I had to cut it off,” says Paula.

Even after all she went through, Yoli continued her studies and helping her parents in everything.

“My sister was kind of a rebel kid. She left high school to marry her current husband. She never played with me. Instead she made jokes of me because I was always studying and helping my parents. I always played alone because she never wanted to play with me,” says Yoli.

Her family improved their economic status when her father and her mother put together a small store in front of their house, where they sold supplies and provisions. By that time Yoli was entering high school.

“One day she was cleaning the bathroom of the store and a giant frog came out of the toilet. She was on shock and screaming. From that day on, she has always had phobia to frogs. She cannot even see them. In fact, she was always absent to school when she knew that she and her classmates were going to experiment with frogs in the biology lab,” says Paula.

She entered the choir and the dance team of the school. “She went to different schools across the country to represent her school team and that was something that marked her life as one of her many dreams ever,” says Paula.

“When she was in eleventh grade, her dream was to study physical therapy or pharmacy” says Paula. When she submitted the application to the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey, she did not applied, so she started studying psychology at UPRC.

“My goals were to graduate from psychology and to work as a psychologist, and of course, to build a family,” says Yoli.


Yoli and Paula sharing their life stories in their house in Cayey, Puerto Rico.

At college, she met Israel Torres. “Meeting your father changed my life. We knew what we wanted since the beginning,” says Yoli. She graduated with high grades from college and then she married Israel.

She started working at Hospital Panamericano in Cidra as a psychological assistant. “While working at the hospital, I discovered that I had some ability to deal with patients of all kinds and of all ages. I liked listening to patients and doing everything I could to help them. That was something that changed my life completely. I had to quit the job when my first son was born,” says Yoli.

Yoli dresses casually. She usually wears short pants and a shirt. Her expressions are those of a peasant person. One of her habits is taking care of her plants. She loves plants, specially orchids.

“One day we went to the supermarket together when suddenly she heard the alarm of her car. We went to check if everything was alright when she noticed that a man was trying to start the car to steal it. Yoli, who was carrying an umbrella, grabbed it and started hitting the man hardly while I tried to stop her.The man gave up and ran away. She is a very brave woman” says Paula.

Yoli is currently working as a secretary in “Cayey X Rays,” a medical office where x ray films are made to patients.

“Everytime I go to that office I start my day in a very relaxing mood. The tenderness of that sweet girl is something special” says Carmen Lozano, an old woman who had been attending that office for many years.

“She had showed me and many people that money does not give you happiness at all. She became a prominent person in Cayey just for being humble and tender with people.That is what life is about, humbleness is the clue to success” says Paula.

Paula has green eyes, she is very short, and Yoli and her are mostly alike.

Yoli has been married for 28 years and she is the mother of three male sons: Israel, 25, Jonathan, 20, and Joel, 19. “Her biggest challenges has always been raising her three sons and keeping up a good marriage. Now that her sons are grown up, her dreams are to have grandsons and enjoy them, when the time is right” says Paula.

This story shows us that humbleness is just a simple detail that can lead people to become a model on how important is to always give your best.


Yoli talking to her mother Paula.


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