‘Como tu quieres (as you want)’, the lady chirps over the phone, her tone one of sheer delight at being able to do some business and make customers happy.
It’s a Friday evening in Girona and we’ve 18 hungry clients booked into a stunning restaurant overlooking the city.
The restaurant doesn’t usually open late on a Friday evening but with the prospect of some decent money, they willingly oblige us.
Thing is, I’m sending three taxis full of people there but I’m not going myself. I’ve the money in hand so I make the call to the restaurant. ‘When will I pay you?’….’Cuando tu quieres, como tu quieres’.
‘When you want, how you want’…
I think to myself, a Friday evening in a busy city and a restaurateur is willing to take an over the phone agreement that I’ll pay her hefty money tomorrow or the day after, or the day after.
The only assurance I gave her was we run a company in town called Eat Sleep Cycle and that maybe she knows Lee Comerford.
‘Aaaah, el bajito!!” she laughs down the phone, clearly remembering Lee and Lou’s big day there last August (Lee and Lou had a meal here the evening of their big day).
The lady didn’t sound like she cared when I’d pay. Needless to say I returned the next day with money.
A week ago we had another group of cyclists. Again, they were hungry and we went to our favourite cake shop on a Saturday at 1.55. They were closing at 2.
The baker gave us one look, unracked her apron from the wall and asked what we need.
Yes, she was ready to go home and enjoy the rest of the afternoon but she chose to help us.
Thing is, there was very little available aside from the bread she’d thrown out moments earlier.
No worries, Irish guys won’t turn that down. But bread on its own? She needed no telling.
She went straight to the shelf, opened a jar of Nutella and lathered it on.
The bill for five of us with a coffee each was a little over €10.
Not done yet though… I only have card. She rightly gave me a scornful look. ‘Puedo venir proxima semana con effectivo’ I shamefully ask (Can I come next week with money)….That line again, ‘Como tu quieres’.
Si, si, me siento mal, volvéra proxima semana (Yes, yes, I feel really bad, I’ll return next week with money)…’Como tu quieres’, she says one last time…
The next day I rose early and railed it to this cake shop 40k away with the exact money and a little extra for the inconvenience.
There’s a Spanish proverb that goes ‘A falta de pan, buenas son tortas’ which effectively means, ‘The lack of bread makes the cakes taste nicer’….and another highly appropriate one here in the case of the Irish guys and I is ‘Barriga llena, corazón contento’….
Full belly, happy heart!