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Carnitas Por Favor

I always buy something for lunch on the days that I get off early. Today it was Chipotle. It was after 2 p.m. so there were only a few people in line. One young girl, had pulled in quickly right next to me and ran in ahead of me. She seemed to be in a hurry.

When I walked into the restaurant to stand in line and order, the burrito dude behind the tortilla steamer was ticked off because there were not enough workers up on the line and the two or three people waiting for their food had no one to help put their salsa and guac on their food. So he yelled!

“Hey! We need some help up on the line!” One or two people looked at the front counter from inside the kitchen, then slowly, a couple of employees came out and began to help. I tried to be friendly, but today, burrito dude was p-o ed at everyone. He scowled at me and said, “What’s yours?”

I smiled and ordered my usual…”Burrito Carnitas white rice, black beans”. He steamed the tortilla and was really angry. I knew he couldn’t be angry with me, so instead of being friendly I decided to encourage him. I said, “It’s going to be okay” I said to him. He stopped what he was doing and stared at me, like “What the hell do you know about me?”

The small voice inside said, “If he calls her and tells her he’s sorry she will forgive him.” I didn’t hear it audibly…it was the impression in my heart and in my head that he and some woman, were at odds and if he would call and apologize she would forgive him.

Now, everything is happening at normal speed. New people are ordering burritos and employees are coming out of the back to staff the front line. I had maybe 5 seconds to decide if I was going to say anything. There are times I pass on the impression because, you know, I could be wrong and I don’t like looking like an idiot, especially in a restaurant where I go frequently. But today, the impression was so strong and so bizarre, I went for it.

“Dude, if you call her and tell her you’re sorry, she’ll forgive you okay?!” I smiled…but felt really embarrased for having said that out loud. Obedience usually never falls in the comfort zone…at least mine doesn’t. Burrito Dude stopped and asked, “What do you know about it?” I’m standing there, inside I am saying, “Okay headquarters…need more information…. MORE INFORMATION PLEASE!!! One Adam 12, see the man at the burrito store getting the crap beat out of him! Nothin…

I got nuthin!!!

So I told him, “I don’t know anything about it, I’m just telling you what I know. If you call her and tell her you are sorry, she WILL forgive you!”

Yes, I felt STUPID and yes, he and the three people behind me and the two in front of me along with the employees who had just shown up for salsa and burrito wrapping duty stared at me. Over head, Carlos Santana was singing, “Don’t you worry bout a thing!!!!” But I was worryin’ Carlos!

And just allow me to say that faith in that little voice is always a faith thing…and I don’t always get it right so….there’s that. Checking the inner frequency again….busy signal!

Now I’m thinking “Why did I open my big stupid extrovert mouth?” I was hanging by a string….then Burrito Dude said, “She just walked out the door! I can’t talk to her right now, I’m working!” I nodded, and kept my head down, trying to avoid anything that he would throw at me. I was so worried about my phony baloney image in front of all these people that I failed to realize he had admitted he had said something to her and that she had just walked out of the restaurant. I had heard right!!!

Hey! I was right!!!

I asked for the tomatillo salsa, sour cream, cheese and guacamole, then, got a large drink to go and really didn’t know where to go after that, so I walked out the front door to my car to go home. Right outside the restaurant the young girl who had run in ahead of me was standing there with her burrito bowl upside down on the pavement. She had dropped her burrito bowl and was scooping it back off of the ground into her to go container.

I stopped to help her…she was so embarrassed and about 21 years old. I’m a dad, and a grandfather, I’m not letting a little girl like that eat that crap off the ground.

“Leave it there and come in and let’s get you another one!’ she was bright red.
“Oh no, it’s okay.” I said, “No”, scanning the ground and seeing at what she got I said, “We are going to get you a burrito bowl with steak and corn salsa, sour cream, cheese and guacamole!” She blushed, “I don’t have anymore money!” I said, “I do, it’s Christmas…ho, ho, ho!”

She began to laugh and then little tears trickled down her cheek. “I can’t go back in, my boyfriend is mad at me and he works there!” Now I put two and two together. “This is Burrito Dudes girlfriend! I grabbed her hand, pulled her in behind me and marched up to Burrito Dude who was dumbfounded that I was standing there again, but this time with his girlfriend.

I said, “She dropped her burrito bowl outside on the parking lot and I’m going to buy her another one!” Burrito Dude stood there blinking. He was as mute as a stringless guitar. His mouth fell open. I said, “I’ll tell you what”, pointing to salsa dude, I said, “You come over and make a burrito bowl for me, Burrito Dude is taking a short break.”

Salsa Dude did as I asked. I looked at the girl and said, “Burrito Dude has something to say to you!” He looked at me, I gave him a “DO IT YOU IDIOT” look, and he said, “a…Stacy, could I talk to you a minute?” He left the back, Stacy went and sat down at a table with him and just when I dropped of the new burrito bowl…they were holding hands. I patted him on the back, winked at the girl and said, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!” Burrito Dude and Stacy were good again. they sat there staring at me as I drove away.

And there is really no point to this story except that, evidently, God uses people for even silly things like lover’s quarrels and I think, if we can accept it…this is a small step toward revival. It may seem trivial, but if you will speak up at Chipotle, He may decide to use you at other, more important times. But if you’re not prepared to look foolish, He won’t even try. I used to be too worried about ME when Id hear that kind of stuff. …how about you? Stepping out in faith is scary, but after a while, you just do it because adventure is what God is all about.

I do wish I had come up with something better to say than, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!’ I’m still learnin’!

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