By JUAN DE JESÚS BREENE
Knowing I was going to be out of Mexico for a few months, I went to my favorite torta place-
Tortas are like sandwiches, but on soft oval rolls, and are a favorite Mexican treat.
I usually call in ahead so that I do not have to wait, but this time I did not, so I had to have some patience while my torta was being prepared.
As I was waiting at the front of the shop to take my torta home, two boys of about the age of 20 were walking down the sidewalk and asked me if I would give them some food because they were hungry.
First, I told them that I did not think I had enough money, but then, I looked at the counter and saw I had left a 200-peso note there.
So I said, “Sure, what kind of torta would you like?”
The one who originally asked responded, “milanesa,” which is like a breaded beef or sometimes veal.
So, then, I thought top myself, “Well, I’m not just going to stand next to them in silence.”
So I said, “Where are you boys from?”
The one doing all the talking told me that they were from the state of Guerrero, one of Mexico’s poorest sates.
Then, I saw the manager come out with what I thought was an angry look on his face, directed either at me for buying them food or at them for asking for it.
The boys moved away from the front of the store.
I thought, “What’s the big deal? They are not bothering anyone.”
The manager came back in, and I thought that maybe he chased them away.
But it was just the opposite.
I now watched him appear once again with two bowls and a stack of tortillas.
It actually took me a few seconds to realize the boys were still there and the food was for them.
Apparently, they come by a few times a week and this nice restaurant gives them some food.
Note to self: Do not make assumptions so easily. Our world often contextualizes us to see the worse, when there is no bad there to begin with.