Nov 132016

coke_machineI craved a milkshake thanks to a post shared by my friend Dana Phillips on how chocolate improves your intelligence. So I went to Jack-in-the-Box to seek out a higher IQ. And I found it.

A friendly and sweet chunky Latina lady waited on me as we engaged in pleasant conversation about the Chicken Fajita Pita with Apple Slices countering the large chocolate intellectual stimulator. There was another Hispanic young man working behind the counter who smiled as he handed over the munchies.

My wife and I sat down and, gazing around, I see a Mexican family sitting and enjoying lunch with their kids. A mother and daughter sat across from me sharing an enjoyable moment in their afternoon while alternately grabbing jalapeno poppers. The young lady had the most beautiful sandy and wavy hair framing her sapphire eyes.

A grizzled man appearing to be a farmer perhaps of Armenian descent nodded to me as he made his way to toss garbage into the trash to clean up after himself. An aged man wearing slacks and a white shirt matching his skin tone hobbled by with a cane. A woman speaking only Spanish held her baby while the son, about eight years old from appearance, struggled to transport a high-chair in which to sit his small sister.

And there I sat, across from my own beautiful wife whose skin remains tanned far beyond what mine will ever be. And I see something.

And also I see the absence of something.

Two employees walk by — a chubby white male teenager and a skinny Mexican girl I estimate in her early 20s with both arms tattooed, four swords decorating her inner right forearm, both delivering food to patrons with a smile returned to each.

What I noticed was the absence of hatred. What I saw was each person there engaged in a ritual of life and enjoying a simple moment.

What I saw was people engaging with one another for a common albeit quite mundane cause. And simply being happy.

In this room diversity and peace gathered.

The tattooed girl delivered a bag of food to the old man who thanked her with a smile and a surprise that service had been so fast. As he stood and shuffled gingerly toward the door, he stopped to smile at the daughter in the high chair, talking to her in English, telling her what a beautiful baby she was and congratulating the mother and smiling at the son. She appeared to speak or comprehend not a word of English, replying to him in Spanish. Did the language barrier matter? No barrier existed since they both spoke the language of acceptance and affection.

I watch people line up at the soda machine, one of the new ones dispensing dozens of different combinations. Regular, Diet, Coke, Sprite, Barq’s, Dr Pepper, Fanta, Cherry, Vanilla, and a lot more to make whatever combined concoction you prefer or simply want to try.

Kinda like people in our United States. So many colors and combinations pour out of that single dispenser. Varied ethnicities, religions, genders, professions. All are present and while some flavors may not be your preferred choice, we certainly do not bear hatred for those who prefer something different. While I may be a Diet Coke kind of guy, perhaps you’re a Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper kind of girl. It’s all good.

Can we not be as a country a bit more like this scene in Jack-in-the-Box and simply and peacefully enjoy the diversity around us? The menu on the board offers a lot of choices because choice and diversity are good.

And consider that no politicians were present either serving the meal or enjoying it with us. It was simply by mutual consensus of all who were there. And, my friends, that’s all it takes.