The Mexican Taco guys : the quiet heroes of the Pandemic

In every culture there is a magic place, personal, where we often go to satisfy our appetite or thirst; to start a day or to finish our day. To celebrate or cry our worries to the person on the other side of the bar. In Mexico, those places are the taco stands that fill our streets, some in the morning and others in the night. Probably in Italy you have the espresso bar where you go to have a quick 1 euro café in the early morning or early afternoon. People usually know the server, either a “taquero” in Mexico or a barista, in Italy. In the UK some local small pubs who are served by the same person or family for decades have a similar connection with their customers. In some cases the connection is such, that they should be called therapists.

Now that we are more than six months into the Pandemic and “lockdown” and “stay at home” seem to be forgotten phrases, many people in Mexico are still too timid to go to a restaurant but a street taco stand seem to be more accesible and since most of them are in open air, people are visiting them more and more. Those guys selling tacos, known as “taqueros” in Mexico, stood firm for months without selling when people just stayed at home. After three months, my local taquero just couldn’t take it anymore and reappeared at his corner. I see him every night, with more and more people around. People with face masks approach his stand and then retreat to their cars to eat the tacos or eat them standing with social distancing from other customers. You can see how happiness has returned to the face of the taquero and the satisfaction on his expression when people ask for a certain taco that’s sold out: “se terminaron, jefe” (sold out, chief).

A few months ago I wrote on facebook on how I considered them heroes because they retreated to their homes and didn’t sell for months. Now they are back and their mission is a different one: to bring a bit of happiness to people at the end of this infamous year. Well done, taqueros!

Featured Image Credits

“Taco Stand!” flickr photo by 2nified shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

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