$1 can go a long way

Yesterday was a long day. Thursdays always are.  The hardest part about night classes is being able to sneak dinner in sometime throughout the evening.  I dont usually have the opportunity to do this so I make sure to have a late lunch or some snacks.  This was not the case yesterday.

After class it was straight to racquetball.  After leaving the gym it was about 11:15 p.m. and I had not digested anything for about twelve hours.  Sometimes you just want someone to make food for you.  After a long day the last thing I want to do is head home and make a meal.

 I thought to myself, “I worked out hard, what can I eat that will satisfy my needs and destroy my entire workout?”

Muchas Gracias.  It’s not real Mexican food, but some of you from the area know how good muchas is after a long day or on your way home from the bar at 3 a.m.

I felt a smaller sense of guilt eating muchas since I had worked out so hard, so it wasnt as if I had been drinking all day and then deciding a huge caloric intake late in the evening was beneficial.  This is what I wanted at the moment and I wanted it fast.  I wanted it so fast that I had phoned in my order so I was to arrive, pay, take, and eat.

I pulled into the downtown Vancouver muchas on my way home and waited, and waited, and waited.  I began to get a little irritated and just continued listening to the radio and thumbing around on my phone.  About 5 minutes had gone by and still no one had approached the drive-thru window.  The young Mexican woman was running to the other window repeatedly and taking orders as customers continued to back up behind my side of the drive-thru.  She was taking orders, running up front to help walk-in customers, and taking care of her son.  

It wasn’t until 7 minutes had gone by that I noticed there was a chubby little Mexican boy inside following his mom around with his backpack still on and a smile on his face.  This woman was serving customers, prepping food, exchanging funds for goods, and watching her son at the same time. Who am I to complain about waiting a few extra minutes for something I didn’t really need.

She finally came to the window and had an apologetic look on her face and I exchanged my words in Spanish.  Many people don’t take me for a fluent Spanish speaking person, but I still only speak this with my mother.  She seemed a bit relieved as I told her, “Toma tu tiempo, esta bien, yo puedo esperar.”  

A funny thing happens when I expose my language to those who least expect it.  They try harder to communicate in English.  When you cross a cultural barrier with language there is something that is revealed in a person’s eyes and even more so, their smile.  There is meaning behind both and you can leave knowing there was a moment of appreciation for both.

My total came to $5.09.  I had just filled up my gas tank and was left with $6 in my wallet.  I gave her the $6 and she returned the $1 as if to say sorry for waiting.  Only having the $1 I returned it to her and told her to keep it for herself as I looked past her and saw her chubby little boy smiling.  They needed it more than I did and a simple smile of appreciation was worth my last dollar.  It is best to give your extra change or tips to those who least expect it.  I did this last night and I cant wait to do it again.

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1 Comment

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One response to “$1 can go a long way

  1. This post made me want Muchas sooo bad. And I’m sorry you had to wait for 7 minutes in the creepiest drive-thru tunnel ever. I hope you made that woman’s day with your kindness. I know it would’ve made mine.

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