The cowboy is Hà’s family’s sponsor when they arrive in the U.S. Though his name is actually Mr. Johnston, Hà never calls him this and only refers to him as her family’s cowboy. She does this because he wears a tall cowboy hat and cowboy boots, has a big belly, and smokes cigars—and in Hà’s mind, this means he’s a cowboy and must own a horse. In reality, though, he’s a car salesman and wants to sponsor Brother Quan so he can teach him to repair car engines. Hà experiences a major crisis when she finally asks the cowboy if she can ride his horse, and she learns from Quan that not only does the cowboy not own a horse, but that horses also say “neigh” in America, not “hee” like they do in Vietnam. The cowboy is very supportive of Hà’s family: he helps them settle in their own house, registers Hà for school, and regularly brings gifts. When Hà’s family becomes victims of racist threats, he also calls the police and introduces the family to their neighbors. His wife, though, isn’t nearly as welcoming or supportive—she refuses to even smile at Hà’s family until they agree to be baptized at the local Baptist church.