On Saturday mornings, in the town I used to live in, there was a man that set up a big disco in a parking lot, under a large tree. It was early in the mornings during winter, just as the sun was coming up over the mountains at the edge of town and the steam could be seen rising from his coffee cup.
I don’t remember his name but he was the burrito man. His disco, a propane tank, and a long white table were all he needed to cook up delicious breakfast burritos. Those of us that knew what he was doing would drop off tortillas or eggs, just to have a reason to say hello and to feed off of his constant enthusiasm.
I learned about him from Cheryl, one of the lunch visitors at the soup kitchen. She said that the burrito man was going to start setting up in a couple of weeks. Winter was coming and somehow or the other everyone knew the burrito man was going to be there.
In every community there are helpers. Helpers known by everyone and at the same time not known by anyone. All the people that need to know them, know them. The rest of us are oblivious to what they are doing, how they are helping.
Cheryl invited me to meet the burrito man. She said he was an “amazing dude” and that he would do anything for the people. I think a man that provides free burritos on Saturday mornings should be described just like that.
The parking lot where the burrito man set up each Saturday was right next to a bridge connecting the street leaving town to the entrance of historic downtown. It was not too far from the soup kitchen and it seemed like the best place to serve the people.
There was no marketing, no posts on social media. None of the downtown shops had flyers about his services. No announcements were ever made to let people know that he would be there.
But Cheryl knew, and so did the others. Helpers like the burrito man don’t need organized marketing campaigns to get the word out. They just show up and do their thing.
When I first visited him, it was a cold morning. He was wearing a heavy jacket, the kind you see construction workers wear, all brown, a bit…