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Friday, January 23, 2009


Every once and a while we get take out from one of our favorite Mexican Restaurants, On the Border.

Like many restaurants, there is a separate entrance for the take out customers. It is here I usually, hurriedly enter, get my food and go.

Only on this day when I entered, I faced the back of a very, very old woman, hunched over the menu at the checkout stand. It was obvious, she wasn’t aware this was for the HURRIED people.

She talked with the cashier about each and every item on the menu.

Going over each ingredient. How it tasted. If it was spicy. Well, this little exchange went back and forth between the woman and the cashier for quite a while.

Then, just as you thought she was ready to order, she would begin again with another item on the menu. I found it a little amusing, not being in a hurry today. But the man behind me was very agitated.

“Old people,” he breathed. “They are always getting in the way!”

“Naw,” I responded. “I am sure I will be there one day.”

“Well, I won’t!” he proudly stated.

(Nevermind, that he looked almost the same age as the woman.)

The cashier was so pleasant. She knew we were waiting, and communicated to us occasionally that she appreciated our patience.

She was the only take out girl, no one else to help. And even though her take out line was severely backed up and no one came to help her, this cashier treated this woman as though she was her most favorite grandma. Patiently going over each item. Smiling at her when she couldn’t decide between all the yummy options. And eventually, she successfully helped the woman settle on a dish that would please her palate and wallet.

Finally, 15 minutes later, the woman paid and turned to wait for her take out food. She hesitated, and turned back.

“What was your name, dear?”

The cashier smiled warmly and said, “Valarie.”

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