Broken Doors, Bad Burritos, and Second Chances

Over the past year, I have enjoyed lunch at the same Mexican restaurant most Tuesdays to take advantage of their Taco Tuesday special. Since I visit often, I have become friendly with the staff. Eventually, it turned into a weekly social outing as much as an inexpensive dining experience. 

Since I like to ask questions and I’m genuinely interested in people, I probably learned more about the employee’s personal lives than most of their regular customers. What fun to find out the young woman who usually took my order was also a Disney World annual pass holder. We geeked out about all the new rides the first time we discovered our mutual fandom.

Most weeks, I go to the restaurant solo. Last spring, when my sister was in town, she went with me. As we approached the counter that same young woman yelled, “Oh my God! You’re not alone!” Yes, this weird guy who likes Disney and asks a lot of questions actually has family and friends. My sister and I still laugh about that.

I’ve also become friendly with the manager at the restaurant. She usually stops by my table to ask if everything is okay with my meal. When she did this a few months ago, she also told me that it was her last week at that location. She would be going to another location to help out for a while and then leaving the company completely. 

This made me sad.  I knew I was reaping the benefits of her excellent management skills. She assembled a great team and created what seemed like a very happy work environment. Numerous times, I witnessed her jumping in to help whenever and wherever she was needed. Every visit, I observed her checking in with the customers to see how they were doing. Because of her influence and leadership, my dining experience was always joyful and satisfying. 

I’m not sure if my mouth was full or if she simply walked away before I could formulate the words, but I didn’t have the chance to tell her the things I wrote above. I also wanted to wish her luck and let her know she would be a blessing wherever she ended up. I left the restaurant regretting this missed opportunity. 

It turns out my observations about her management skills were correct. Her replacement wasn’t able to create the same positive environment, and my experience in the restaurant started to decline drastically. My fellow Disney fan confirmed that things were not going well, so she took another job at Starbucks. Little by little, other employees started to leave.  

On Sunday, I had a craving for one of their burritos, so I took a spontaneous trip to the restaurant for dinner. It felt odd to not recognize any of the employees. Even more odd, the front door of the restaurant was broken that night. A paper sign on the door directed customers to enter using the side door. It’s as if the Universe was trying to prevent me from going in.

I wish the Universe had been successful! The energy in the restaurant felt sad and heavy. What wasn’t heavy was the burrito the young man brought to my table. It was probably the worst burrito I’ve ever been served. The stale flour tortilla was filled with mostly lettuce, a little shredded cheese, and barely enough black beans to fill a shot glass.  

When I took the burrito to the counter to show him how little was inside, he replied, “Oh. You want more beans?” He went back to the kitchen and returned with a tiny plastic cup filled with maybe two tablespoons of black beans. I was waiting for someone to pop out and tell me I was on “Candid Camera” or “Punked” (depending on your generation.)

Clearly, I wasn’t going to get a satisfactory meal, so I surrendered and went back to my table. Unfortunately, that burrito tasted even worse than it looked. After this terrible experience, I decided that would be my last visit to that restaurant. 

Knowing how much I love that restaurant, another sister gave me a gift card a few weeks before this incident. It still had a balance, so this Tuesday, I decided to try the other location. It’s a little further away, but I had some spaciousness in my schedule and it was a gorgeous day for a drive, so I went.

What a different experience! It was like when I first started going to the other location. The staff was friendly, and my tacos were delicious. And here’s the best part. The manager I wrote about earlier brought my food out to me! She was as surprised to see me as I was to see her. I thought she had already moved on, but this was her last week with the company. I’m so glad I was given a second chance to tell her all the things I didn’t get to say the last time. The quality of my experience that day proved she deserved every word.

Thank you to my sister, the broken door, and that bad burrito for redirecting me to the other location. I believe I was meant to deliver that message, even though I will never know how she received it. I do know that it felt wonderful to be the messenger. What a powerful reminder that joyful moments happen when I pay attention to signs and let my intuition (and my taco cravings) guide me.

Are you having a difficult time noticing signs or following your intuition? It would be my great honor to assist you in “tuning in” with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can help you release what no longer serves so you can be more open and aware of this guidance. Please look around my website to learn more about these opportunities or to book a session. I look forward to working with you!   

Until next time, may the signs be clear and your journey be joyful. 

Love’s messengers are gently sent, and return with messages of love and gentleness.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-19.IV-A.11:1

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