I think Chipotle puts some type of addictive special seasoning in their food that makes a couple of my kids think their day cannot be complete without a chicken burrito. Sort of like the ice tea at City Cafe To Go for me.
I wish I was joking.
And though Chipotle serves the exact same food, there are particular locations that surpass them all. The reason has nothing to do with what is served. But everything to do with how it is served.
“Mom!!” reports one daughter as she gets into our car waiting outside the Preston Center location (double parked, I told her I would wait while she ran in and grabbed a treat for her and her brother), “Oh my word…. He’s just so nice.”
“You know, Chipotle guy who serves us.”
She’s right. He’s crazy nice.
“When I walked in the door, he looked up from the register and smile-waved like I’m some long lost relative. I waved back — even though I wondered if he was waving at me. I mean, he was just so so. Then, he kept helping everyone else. I ordered our food from the other super nice girl who put it all together. And when I stepped up to pay, he didn’t even ask me what I got. … He told me.”
‘“So you get the chicken, rice, and cheese. And your brother gets rice and chicken … with extra rice.’ That’s what he said. Then he opened Boxter’s to make sure they had put enough rice. He didn’t think they had, so he took it back and added some – with the hugest smile on his face all while asking me questions about what I was up to.”
Her story was making me smile.
“Then he said, ‘Make sure you tell your brother that I missed seeing him today. It has been a while since he’s been in.’ Then he went even further, ‘He’s such a nice boy. You’ve got a great brother.’ Oh my word. It was soooo nice. How can he be so nice? It’s going to make Boxster feel so good. He made me feel so good.”
“Oh… That’s so wonderful.” I said. “But you know the thing about that story that will make Boxster feel the best?”
“Yes,” she replied after thinking for a minute. “That he knew about the rice.”
“What do you think it is about the rice?” I ask.
She thought for a minute. I love that she thinks before she speaks. So unlike her mother. “I think it’s that someone knows him.”
“I think you’re right.” She was right. “Being known. It’s what we all want. Not in the famous sort of way, though I know you guys think that would be cool. But knowing us well enough to touch the little bitty things that really mean something – even though they seem insignificant. Like extra rice in a burrito bowl.”
“I want to be like him,” she said still glowing from encounter.
“Me too. … I hope we all can be like that guy. Leaving a wake of uplifting wherever we go. Wouldn’t that be fun?”
We both sat there and chewed on it one as we drove home.
She knows how it feels to want to be known. My word, as a teen, she’s in the thick of it. She doesn’t want to be lost in a crowd or faded into the background. Same with her siblings. Same with me. It feels so nice to be known. See Also: Starbucks whem they have already started making your coffee before you’ve reached the register. See Also: something as small as someone saying your name.
The super small, seemingly insignificant act of going beyond an order to actually caring for the person ordering put some major fuel in that girl’s tank. Then as soon as we got home, it put some fuel in her brother’s tank. While I entered the house and headed for the kitchen, she b-lined upstairs. I didn’t hear the beginning of the their conversation, but I did hear them as they walked downstairs together.
“Can you believe how nice he is? I mean he even reached in the bag and took the lid of your bowl to make sure it was just the way you like it. You’ve got to see it.”
“He really asked about me?”
“Yes! With that super friendly smile he has. He just SO nice.”
Crazy that extra rice could be so powerful.
I wonder who is walking beside me that needs some extra rice. I hope I’m looking. And noticing. I hope I’m training my kids to notice. Maybe then we can be spreading some tank-filling fuel like our inspirational friend at Chipotle.
Kay Wyma is the author of Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. She shares the hilarity and the tears that come with raising adolescents & teens on her blog The Moat … because who wants to walk that road alone.