Remembering the Orlando 49: Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernández

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Remembering the Orlando 49: Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernández

Every week between now and the one-year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shootings, Orlando Weekly will profile a person killed on June 12, 2016. This week: Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernández

Simon Carrillo Fernández came looking for the American Dream and found it in Kissimmee.

The 31-year-old, originally from Venezuela, moved to Florida in 2006 as the situation in his country worsened, says his sister Aileen Carrillo. He started working at a McDonald's and eventually became a general manager. He was loved by his co-workers, and they told the Orlando Sentinel that their boss never forgot a birthday and always made sure to bring them a cake.

Almost 10 years after moving to a new country with a foreign culture, Carrillo Fernández had become a U.S. citizen and was studying to become an accountant and eventually open his own business. Recently, he had also bought a house with one of his best friends, Oscar Aracena-Montero, and his mother, Digna Fernández de Carrillo, his sister says.

"He was really spectacular in so many different ways," she says. "He was the baby, but sometimes it felt like he was the older sibling. He looked out for all of us and helped his family and friends. He was a hard-working and perseverant person. Of course, he had defects, like any human, but he was perfect for us."

Carrillo Fernández and Aracena-Montero were at Orlando gay nightclub Pulse in the early morning hours of June 12 with several other friends. Both men died in the mass shooting, along with their companions.

Aileen Carrillo says her brother loved to travel to different places, wash his beautiful cars, buy clothes and take care of his Chihuahuas. She remembers him as someone who made her double over with his jokes. The last time she physically saw him months before his death, he made her laugh so much she called it "laughter therapy."

"It was never in my plans to lose you so quickly," she wrote to her brother on Facebook in Spanish. "How could I forget someone who gave me so much to remember. Perhaps, I don't know, your soul was ready to go, but my heart wasn't prepared. You're always with me. I love you, my little love."

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