An Open Letter To The Staff At The Mexican Restaurant Who Saw Me Leaving The Takeout Place Next Door.

You probably didn’t recognize me, which is fine. I’ve been in there enough times that it’s very familiar to me but you have so many customers I don’t believe you can remember all of them, not even the ones who come in every few weeks. I’d probably have to come in nightly, or at least weekly, to really be known. Still I feel a little guilty, like I’d been out with one friend and found out another friend had spent the evening at home and even if the two friends didn’t know each other, or didn’t get along, I’d still worry the other friend was thinking “Why didn’t you call me if you were going out?”

It’s not exactly the same situation, of course, for many reasons. It was late at night, almost closing time at your place, and all of you were sitting out on the patio where, if it had been a typical night, you’d all been extremely busy serving people. It was a lovely evening too and I’m glad you were finally getting a break, sitting down and laughing with each other. It says something that you were all spending the time with each other rather than getting ready to bolt as soon as your shift was over. You all still had your work clothes on. Not uniforms exactly but similar black slacks and white shirts. I don’t know what’s riskier: wearing white while carefully balancing trays of salsa and guacamole or navigating through a crowd of people on their third half-price margarita while holding a sizzling fajita platter. Either way it’s admirable how all of you manage to accomplish it, how I’ve never seen a stain or a scalded man in a polo shirt dousing himself with beer from a frosted mug, at least any of the times I’ve been in there.

So logically I shouldn’t feel guilty. I should be relieved because if I’d come to your place I’d be yet another customer who needed to be served, even though I’ve never felt like just another customer there. I know everyone who comes in gets a smile and a “Welcome, my friends” from the guy who shows people to their tables, and all of you have always been friendly whenever I’ve been in. We’ve never gotten close to a first name basis, or even a last name basis, but, like the restaurant itself, you’ve become familiar to me. I appreciate that you always seem happy, and while I don’t like to make assumptions I know you’re more than just vehicles for food and drink delivery. Some people handle it better than others but I know keeping up a cheerful demeanor can be exhausting, and I know from my own restaurant experience how a single lousy customer can throw off a person’s whole day.

And I don’t want to diminish how much your niceness means to me but the people at the place next door were just as welcoming, just as happy to see me. Kindness may be the one thing that becomes more valuable the more there is of it because when there’s a surplus it would be so easy for one person to not bother, and that could have a cascade effect.

This is just to say I will call.


Facebook Comments



    Hi Chris,

    I want to let you know that I didn’t come in here earlier because I was visiting another one of your blog posts.

    Thanks for understanding,

    ANN J KOPLOW recently posted…Day 4126: Capturing the momentMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Hi Ann, I’m just glad you dropped by while I was taking a break.

  2. mydangblog

    That’s how I felt when I saw my tattoo guy and he noticed the tattoo I’d gotten in Spain when Ken and I were on holidays–oh, the guilt!
    mydangblog recently posted…Adventure Time ThrowbackMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I hope he at least admired the handiwork. Artists should respect each others’ abilities, and it’s not as though you’re exclusively his canvas.


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