“We Wouldn’t Want You to Go Hungry”

Chipotle

Last week, the staff at Chipotle was really kind to me.

I had a meeting at the University of Michigan campus, and when I finished, I realized I was really hungry. It was almost 10pm, close to Chipotle’s closing time. I walked in, and I was just about to order. Then, at the precise moment when the staff member asked me what I would like, I realized I had left my wallet in the car.

“Oh, you know what? Nevermind. Don’t start that. I just realized I left my wallet in the car.”

“That’s okay. We’ll make it for you anyway.”

“But I don’t –”

“Oh, no worries. Really, it’s okay. Glad to do it. We wouldn’t want you to go hungry.”

He said this in such a sincere way and seemed to take pleasure in offering this gift to me. I ended up with a free burrito bowl, and it was very kind.

When I left, I found myself reflecting upon those words of intention and action:
“We wouldn’t want you to go hungry.”
He meant it.
It was kind.

But when I left, I began to reflect. . . wondering how often people are honest that they’re hungry without ever receiving such a statement from us, or most importantly, the food they need. I found myself thinking about times when we’ve encountered the needs of people but consciously or unconsciously, put them into the category of, “They’re always hungry. That’s a type of person who is hungry. And a person to avoid.” Racism and classism are certainly a part of this.

I found myself remembering that there is a humanitarian food crisis in parts of the world this summer — 20 million people in agricultural crisis in South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia; a massive food shortage and political unrest in Venezuela – and it’s quite rare for me to even think about it.

And then there are people we meet in our daily encounters.

“We wouldn’t want you to go hungry.”

That intention and that action needs to grow in us.

Renee Roederer

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