Platitos, the Angel of Dishes

I have a great love of cute things (I know this is shocking after witnessing the glut of baby panda pictures that have been posted lately.) Tiny people I find to be especially endearing. Not necessarily people with dwarfism, though I understand Chelsea Handler’s feelings about them. This is the story of one particular tiny angel who broke down the walls of my heart and made his home there.

I’ve always been friends with the dishwashers at my restaurant jobs. With my remedial Spanish, I always try to communicate with these men and only ever get the sweetest, most patient responses back. There is Manuel, who has a tiny voice and a tinier mustache. And Cuba, who once saved me from twisting my ankle on our walk to the subway. And Bernardo, who always listened attentively when I talked, even though he truly couldn’t understand a word I said.

But none of these kind men have anything on Platitos. Imagine a four foot-tall (errr, 3’10”) Mexican Harry Potter, as cute as Daniel Radcliff in the first movie but without glasses or magical powers. I am convinced he was thirteen when he was hired, although the chef swore he was old enough to work.

When he started working at the restaurant, we became fast friends. He spoke a little bit of English and had a smile that would melt even the coldest, blackest heart. He had a tiny fade hair cut and became best friends with Bernardo, making them an unstoppable team. My friend, the Overly Friendly Fox and I used to talk about dressing Platitos in little sailor suits and taking him to tea. He would have been adorable.


Things started to become slightly less cute when rumors that Platitos had begun hiring prostitutes to come into the restaurant after hours. But that was just a rumor.

Then he got a tattoo of a tiger on his neck.

Then Platitos started growing his hair long and getting in fist fights. This was not how I raised him! I thought he was going to Gap Kids model his way through college!

The final straw was when one of the waitresses caught him hiding behind a bunch of coats and spying on her while she changed. His tininess really helped him hide.

The rumors got back to the chef (mostly because of my big mouth) who yelled at him so hard that Platitos cried (with adorable tiny sobs). He wouldn’t speak to me for a month. I wasn’t completely devastated by that.

Shortly after our cold war began to thaw, Platitos got a job bussing tables downtown. He came back to the restaurant sometimes to visit, but it was never the same. I hope he got his tiny life together. He was way too small to win fights and way too crazy to stay out of them.


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