Yasir used to have a reputation. This was when Sound Bites was tiny and on the weekends people would queue twenty deep to have his excellent omelettes and exquisite “Better Than Home” home fries. Because it was so busy, Yasir would yell at you if he thought you were being slow in eating or paying.
“There are people waiting for your table! Don’t be rude! They are hungry!”
It was always a little stressful eating there, but the home fries were so good.
Then, one day, I was working at this company in the suburbs that had failed and we were all laid off. Filled with despair, I drove back to the city and got lunch at Sound Bites while I figured what to do next. Because it wasn’t the weekend, there were no crowds, and Yasir came over after I ordered and asked, “What is wrong? You look so sad.”
“I was just laid off. Everybody was. I don’t know what I will do now.”
And he just put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Here, my friend, today don’t worry about your bill. I will help you. You will be ok.”
And I appreciated that. I ate and as I left, Yasir said, “This one time only. Next time, you pay for lunch. Because next time you will have a job. I know this.”
Sound Bites is bigger now. The food is just as good. Yasir doesn’t yell anymore. His heart is just as big.