"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Friday, June 12, 2009


Waitressing is a tough job. You forget orders, you get blamed for kitchen mistakes, and there are some people (like Europeans) who just don't know what proper tipping etiquette is. But you will meet the most interesting people. And I like meeting people better when they're my captive audience at a single table.

I have a sarcastic sense of humor, which, sometimes, some tables don't get. So I have to be extra careful with how much of my personality I let shine through at my job.

I used to work at a tapas restaurant called Cafe TuTu Tango, where no one left. If you worked there, you worked there for at least 4-7 years because the management knew we knew what we were doing, trusted us, and treated us all like competent human beings. These people were not my coworkers, they were my family.

It was this job that led me to so many incredible friendships.

But there was one gentleman who used to come in every once in a while. He was so nice, always requesting to sit in my section, and if he was going to be up there in the area, he'd email me in advance to see if I was working so he could stop in and have dinner.

I just got an email from him that I'd like to share with you:

Hi! It's Paul...the old grey-haired grandpa from your waitress days at the TuTu Tango Cafe on the CityWalk.
I just finished watching your film. When it ended, I walked outside on this June gloom Friday and watched the blossoms on my awesome Jacaranda tree fall to the ground from an early evening breeze. It was a somber moment, but a brilliant recollection of what your film had implanted within. Bravo! Bravo! Your film tugged at my heart strings...did everything to transplant my emotions into the same place you and the writers intended.
This film is not going to keep the pilgrim's away. Nor is it going to prevent me from housing a helpless goldfish. [Film reference] What it will do is garner visual memories of what you set out to do as an actress. In many ways, this film was pure genius...and, unfortunately, a film that only a handful will view. But that's okay. It's a small world and I will make this film larger for you by the many movie-goers who trust my film savvy.
Yes, that definitely was a "big cat", and you can frighten me to death with your threat of letting the pilgrim's back in, [more film references] but this film (and you) so memorably went far beyond your "hair" - LOL.
Elle, you are a promising actress. You have a built-in smile even when you are somber. And, when you smile, there is a slight touch of sorrow and sympathy that exudes your personality...on and off camera.
I remember you as a bubbly waitress in Universal City. I'd like to remember you that way. What a shining personality...you could have sold us anything off the menu. Now you've sold me on your film.
If there is anything I can do to further your career now that I'm only two weeks away from retirement, don't hesitate to call upon me.
Your film was provocative, insightful, down-home...and pure...from the heart. Please tell me this is only the beginning. Only the beginning. -PAUL

Wasn't that so incredibly sweet? He didn't have to do that.

Being a struggling actress, sometimes it seems as though that's all I'll be. But when someone goes out of their way to say such lovely things, and to remind me to keep at it....gosh. How can I not? My heart feels like it's going to burst, so touched am I.

But Paul had more to say. He cc'd me on another email to his friends:

A few year's ago, many of my buds used to frequent the Tutu Tango Cafe on the CityWalk at Unverisal City. Our waitress was a very young lady named Elle. The first time we met her Carmen was my guest and Elle accommodated us by moving furniture closer to a big screen TV so we could watch the NCAA basketball playoffs...UCLA game of course. What a bubbly personality. Dynamite. She was an aspiring actress who had performed in many stage productions throughout Southern California.
A few months later I brought my granddaughter (Autumn) to the restaurant one early evening to meet her. I told her she was going to meet a real "actress". As we walked into the restaurant, another waitress told us it was closed for a private party. I asked her if Elle was there...and she was. Autumn got to meet this lovely woman and it didn't surprise me that her eyes sparkled when she got the opportunity to meet a professional actress.
I am honored to announce that Elle has broken new ground. She has starrred in her first feature film which won the 2008 Dances with Films "Audience Award". You didn't have to ask me. From the get-go I knew Elle would be a star. I've cc'd her with this e-mail...and I hope some, if not all, of you will take 90 minutes of your life and rent the film.
You only go around once in life and I'm so blessed to have met Elle in such an informal setting. She pours Chardonnay like a pro, too. Here's her photo, she is the young lady with the lovely curly hair...with a smile and a countenance that exudes a happy life.
You won't be disappointed. Watch it! -Paul

Every once in a while, someone will tell me that I'm going to make it, that I'm going to be great, and if it wasn't for people like Paul, I probably would've given up on myself already.

Paul - Thank you. Thank you so much. You have been the cherry on a fantastic week. And I hope you can feel the big hug and love I'm sending back to you too.


  1. when were we treated as humans? I must not have worked those days. Love ya, and still waiting for the day you make it, so i can have fun riding your coattails. :)

  2. This is the sweetest thing I've read in quite a while -- what a great guy. :)


Play nice.