The Curious Incident of John and the Free Tacos

Today was interesting.

I decided to go around the corner and grab a couple tacos and a margarita.

Settling at the bar, a man two seats down was looking down and mumbled, "Excuse me, do you have any extra cash?"

He looked like a completely normal dude. Living in Manhattan, my first response was, "Oh come on dude, I'm trying to relax here and have dinner."

He went on to tell me his story, "I just graduated and am looking for work. It's just so expensive here, and I just want to get something to eat."

So I said to him, "OK dude, why don't you get something off the menu and help yourself to a beer or something."

He thanked me, politely declined the beer and ordered. He introduced himself as John, and we shook hands.

A little while into our meals, I asked him, "Are you doing anything for work?"

He went on to tell me how he was struggling to find work, and that he could do anything, if only given the chance. As we talked, I tried to feel him out -  observing him interacting with the staff,  and he looked like a nice guy. So I said to him, "Look, I started this phone case company." (I explained the EyePatch Case to him), "and if you're interested, I would be happy to talk to you about coming on board as a sales rep. Approach some cellphone shops, see if you can get our product onto their shelves."

I offered him 30% commission on every sale - which is very generous. I gave him a card, and he said he would reach out and seemed to be very grateful. He even said, "I won't let you down."

Then the manager came over to me (keep in mind, this isn't a fancy place, just a taco shop). He said, "I have to ask, the guy over there said you're covering his tab. He just ordered more food." I looked at John (a little annoyed that he didn't ask first) and asked, "are you hungry?" He said yes. I said he could order whatever he wanted.

We talked a little more about sales and how he could possibly work with me. Then, the manager came over again. He said, "Sorry sir, but did you tell this guy it was OK to order tequilla?(remember, we're talking NYC prices here, and this wasn't cheap tequilla)

I looked at the guy and said, "Bro, listen. I'm more than happy to hook you up with some food, and I even offered a beer. But now, I feel like you're taking advantage."

He apologized and said he was sorry. A few minutes later, he got up, thanked me, said he would be in touch, and left.

Then I noticed that something weird had happened.

I had been focused on texting my wife until I noticed the waitress with a shocked look on her face (and pretty much everyone around us).

John had taken his entire (untouched) plate of food and flipped it over onto the bar, making a mess for the staff to clean up.

I don't know what's worse - throwing away an opportunity, or throwing away a perfectly tasty taco. Either way, his loss.

What do you think?

 

(by the way: John still has my card. The manager credited me for his meal, even though I still offered to pay. Also, these are not exact quotes, obviously.)


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2 comments

  • Good read! Thanks for the story

    • Aaron
  • Love the title of this article.

    • Annie