I came to employ Luis because he works next door in the evening as a busboy, and he came by about three times a week while I was working on the space, asking for a job. I asked Rodolfo about him--Rodolfo is proving to be an apt HR person as far as vetting potential new employees--and was given a good report, so I signed him up.
He's quite the little hustler, Luis. But in a good way. Almost every day, it seems, Luis is working on brokering a deal to swap food with one of the other nearby restaurants. He works next door, of course, so getting pizzas and pastas from them is easy pickin's. He also knows his way around over there, so if we're temporarily out of garbage bags, eggs, or whatever, he just goes over and gets whatever it is we need (we pay them back).
The other day, he set the record for back-door-restaurant hustling. He traded four burgers for a large pizza with mushrooms, pepperoni, sausage, and onion in the morning, which we all feasted on. Then, when we had a backed-up drain under our dish sink, Luis suddenly just disappeared for a few minutes, only to return with some Asian guy and a power rodder. I guess the guy works at the Japanese place around the corner and somehow Luis knew the guy had the right tool for the job.
The worked on the drain for a while, and then Luis pulled me aside and quietly told me that the guy would probably want something in exchange for his time and the use of his tool. I was prepared to pay him (you know, with actual money), but after fighting the drain for a while with his handheld rodder and having no luck, then wheeling in the big one and finishing the job, the guy just wanted a few burgers.
He left with his rodders and a few minutes later, I sent Luis over there with a sack of burgers for him. Of course, when Luis comes back, he's got a bunch of fried rice and some pepper steak or somesuch. Hustler.
He's also one of those guys who never stops eating but weighs like 130. This might be explained by the fact that he never stops jabbering, joking, or just generally moving around. He's a hard worker and a pretty bright guy, but his energy level and his ability to figure out ways to get stuff done (and just get stuff) makes him a really valuable guy to have around.
More examples of Luis' powers; he's managed to get me to make a custom internet radio station for him featuring the music of Los Tigres Del Norte. Only because I could not bear to listen to another morning of radio 105.1 Que Bueno, the worst morning show in the history of broadcast media. He got sick of buying coffee on his way in to work, and trying to mooch it from the Trattoria was proving difficult, so he showed up one day with a used Braun machine from Village Thrift and a can of Folgers.
The amazing thing about this guy is that he's so charming and nice about everything, that he manages to hustle up all this stuff for himself without ruffling any feathers or stepping on any toes. In fact, everyone seems to love it. He's one of those guys that people like setting up with stuff.
If you come into the restaurant, look for him. He's the guy in the paper Vienna Beef hat. He prefers to wear these cheesy paper hats that I have instead of the standard issue baseball cap, for some odd reason.
(Oh, the hustled-up rodding job didn't take, of course, so I've now got a guy coming out tomorrow. A real guy. Who I'll have to pay. With money.)