This afternoon, my parents and I went to Taco Bell.
We hadn't been there in years. We're more Chipotle people.
Anyway, as soon as we entered the place, we encountered a beaming 20-something-year-old guy juggling hot sauce packets.
When we approached the counter, he dropped them all.
"Oh, excuse me, my juggling skills are a bit rusty," he said, with a dazzling grin, before reaching on the floor to pick the packets up.
"What can I get you?" he asked.
We told him we needed time to think.
"Well my name is Scooter, so if you need help with anything at all, please holla at me," he said enthusiastically.
My dad eyed the menu skeptically.
"Is the Doritos Loco Taco any good?" he asked.
Scooter's eyes popped out their sockets.
"The Locos Taco is the most delicious item we have on the menu," he gushed. "And I'm not just saying that as your Taco Bell representative."
He put his hand on his heart.
"I actually had the distinct honor of meeting our guy out in Dallas who invented the Locos Taco," Scooter added. "It was a privilege. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life."
I laughed. But my parents looked impressed.
When my parents and I finally decided to order, Scooter was very involved.
"You can't just order one Locos Taco! You need at least three!"
"Get a combo!"
"If you add an extra burrito supreme, I'll add an extra cheese sauce for you on the sly."
"Come on this is Taco Bell, everything is good."
By the time we brought our food to the table, my parents and I spent ten minutes trying to figure out who had ordered what. Why was there so much food? Who ordered the kids meal?! Wait, why did we order four drinks?
In the middle of our meal, I looked up and almost choked on my nachos. Scooter was standing right in front of us, grinning. How long had he been there?!
He sat down in our booth, across from me.
"In 1987, my parents went to a huge family reunion, everyone in the family was there, and it was held at a Taco Bell," he told us, solemnly. "One day later, I was born."
I stared at him, dumbfounded.
What the fuck? Why was he telling us this? Why was he sitting with us?
I looked at my parents, expecting them to be equally horrified. Instead, they seemed genuinely touched.
"That is a beautiful story," my mom said to him.
"Our cinnamon twists are really good," he said, before taking our trash away.
My mom immediately went up to the counter to order cinnamon twists.
When we walked out of the restaurant, my mom couldn't stop talking about Scooter.
"Now there is a young man who loves his job," she said. "What a sweet guy. I'll definitely be coming to Taco Bell a lot more now. What a nice place."
I trudged behind my parents, still trying to comprehend what had happened. I glanced down at our receipt and almost fainted.
Normally when we go to a fast food place, our bill is around $10. This receipt said we spent more than $25. AT A TACO BELL. FOR THREE PEOPLE.
And that's when the realization hit me.