Faint soot puffed as the cook flipped over a slightly burnt tortilla. “Con todo?” She inquired with her eyes focused on the ingredients. “Yes, except the beans.”
Immediately behind me was an elderly Hispanic woman, perhaps in her 60s, with small shopping bags in both hands. Behind her were about five more hungry people. And around us in Mission District, San Francisco were countless passersby and kibitzers. Outside the record store across the street, animated kids slightly moved their hips as gentle breeze wafted “Macarena” beat to our ears.
“Muchos gracias!” I replied with gusto.
Bus # 14 was unusually late this time. A crowd built up quickly. A bite of warm chicken burrito made the waiting inconspicuous. Feasting first on its top, juice of mixed sour crème, salsa, guacamole and cheese oozed out a bit when the burrito got squeezed.
With another big bite coming, a cry for help suddenly burst out. “Ladron! Thief! My purse! Mi bolso!” In a flash my burrito was tossed up in the air as I got bumped by panicking crowd. Watching it stomped and ruptured into pieces on the ground, I almost bawled my outrage. But the sight of a frightened old woman with the shopping bags off her hands was more gripping.
Three buses arrived and left. Two younger women stood by with the unfortunate lady as the cop approached them.
Back to the restaurant, “Burrito por favor.”
Another police officer arrived with the handcuffed thief. The lady got her purse back. Her face remained distraught but a shade of relief came out of her voice as she hugged the officer.
With my second burrito in hand, I brought it to safety. And indulged on it outside the record store while listening to “La Bamba”.