The Skinny Chef
When my dad came to this country they left a very successful life in Bogota, Colombia. Due to the radical situation there, he felt in his heart he needed to move his young family. They owned 2 restaurants and he was partnered with a manufacture of police uniforms for the police department. He even had their protection during these troubling times, but something was calling within to get out. My mother and father had to drive to the hospital when she went into labor with a police escort. Their employees including their domestic help cried when they announced they were selling their businesses and moving. No one wanted them to leave. My mom gave everything in their home and all the extra clothes to the house workers.
They made a lot of friends, but it was time to go. They had to have police escorts to get to places just to be safe and that just didn’t feel right. So to make a long story short, my dad landed in America with his young wife (my mom), 4 year old son and 2 week old baby boy. He had pesos for money and they had some luggage. Plus neither my mom or dad could speak English, but they needed to learn fast.
He took a job as a chef and my mom as a waitress. Talk about a switch. He was most grateful for the job and he said the owner was a kind man, but all the kitchen staff was filling themselves up with food, grocery items, etc. before walking out the back door at the end of their shift.
Without hesitation my dad started leaving work from the front door. The manager stopped him several times telling him employees go out the back door, not the front. He couldn’t explain himself but he was learning English fast and in meantime wanted his honesty upfront.
This went on for several nights until the owner approached him trying to explain to my dad the reason the employees had to go out the door, “it didn’t look good for the customers to see the help walking through the dining room to leave when there was a back door for them.” This time my dad said, “I want you to see when I come to work I’m your skinny chef. I also want you to see when I leave your restaurant I’m still skinny.” The owner asked him for an explanation and my dad just said, “I like you a lot and I’m grateful for this job, but you need to pay attention to who comes in skinny and who goes out fat.”
The owner was incredibly grateful for my father’s honesty and integrity. He became a huge fan of my father of course and kept in touch too. Back then I guess it was hard to rent if you had children and the owner offered a generous finder’s fee to anyone who could help my parents find a place.
You are either honest or not, but doing right brings back right. No matter what. My parents taught this to me not just in words, but in their actions and then sharing their life stories. I’m blessed by their examples and grateful they took the time for our talks.
This is why I’m bold with honesty and I will always speak my truth. It is deep in my core. I think it must be uncomfortable for some people who are not able to be honest with themselves and others, but that is not my concern. I need to be me, and I’m honest. Plus I believe truth always prevails.
Skinny chef in, skinny chef out. It’s the way to live life! Thanks Dad! Thanks Mom!
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