I’m at EWR right now, surfing the internet for a bit before I head out to the ‘burbs for a meeting. I grabbed some breakfast from Burger King (greasy goodness!), on business expense of course. Behind me in line was a man who spoke only Spanish, clearly an international visitor. The Burger King folks called over a port authority person who was able to translate the menu for him and translate what he wanted to the service staff. So, right after I get done buying my breakfast, he goes to buy his, and he pulls out his wallet. Inside is a ton of currency I don’t recognize and one crisp, likely freshly exchanged, one hundred dollar bill.
I’ve been in this predicament myself before, albeit for different reasons. Very few places in the airport will take a one hundred dollar bill. And, the currency place will not make change. The only place I’ve found here to break one is the TGI Friday’s bar, and that was at 8pm on a Thursday, not 9am on a Thursday.
The port authority person had left at this point, and the guy was floundering, not understanding why the person behind the counter wouldn’t take his US currency. He kept pointing at it and saying “American dollar” and the woman is like “No change! Can’t make change!” And he’s shrugging, and it’s clearly all he has. So, I switch over to my personal credit card and have the counter person ring his meal up on my credit card. I turn to him and say as clearly as I can manage (but not in stupid-person English or anything), “Don’t worry about breakfast. I’ve paid for it.” and I point at his food, and then I point at the hundred and indicate putting it in a pocket. And he hugs me. And spits out a huge amount of Spanish, and the only word I understood was “Gracias”…and I feel really good right now, and I barely did anything.
After he finished breakfast, he found me in the food court and gave me another mini-hug and said “Bon [something-food?]. Gracias. Bien [something]”…and I said the little bit of Spanish I know, “Denada,” which I’m desperately hoping means “You’re welcome,” but I honestly don’t remember for sure.
I don’t write this post to congratulate myself or to educate the world in some better-than-thou manner. I write it because I feel really damn good right now, and it’s been a long time since I felt this good for doing anything. My name is Earl. 🙂