A Night at Chili’s


Izar Olivares, Managing Editor

There it is—one of the most glorious restaurants to eat at on a night like this. What kind of night is it you may ask? Well, it’s Cinco de Mayo! And what better place to celebrate Mexican Independence Day than at Chili’s eating Mexican food and don’t forget the margaritas!

Daryl, my husband, loves celebrating this holiday because it gives him an excuse to blackout after trying every flavor of margarita that Chili’s has to offer but who doesn’t? It’s a day to celebrate whoever the Mexicans fought or whatever and get fucked up! And besides, the kids are pretty excited too since they get to eat all of the fajitas and the nachos they want. With that being said, we walk into the restaurant to find it decorated with those colorful papers and one of those “pinyatas” or whatever they’re called—the ones that the kids hit—hanging just behind the hostess’s stand.

“Ho-la! Table for four please.” I greeted the hostess, who just looked at me with a weird face before collecting the menus. Does she not know that means hello?

Goodness! We almost forgot to put on the sombreros! I didn’t even have trouble finding any since they came with our Halloween costumes. Walmart sure does come up with everything, and good thing they do because we can’t be Mexican without sombreros! As Daryl chases little Jack around to put the hat on, Jane and I follow the hostess to our table, past the donkey pinyata and the speakers that were blasting some type of Mexican music to fit the holiday. You could tell they didn’t clean the table right when your hand sticks to it as soon as you sit down.

“Could you please tell someone to wipe the table?” I said to the waitress in disgust while reaching into my purse for a hand wipe. She immediately apologized and said she would send the busboy right away to clean the table. This shouldn’t be something that we should be dealing with right now.

Five minutes later, a darker older man wearing a white apron around his waist, covered in stains walks up to us holding our waters. About time! He sets the waters down at the edge of the table before taking out a damp rag to finally wipe it down, then places a couple of plates and silverware for us. I observe how he does this like he was in a rush yet doesn’t make an effort to speak with us. His name tag reads ‘Juan’. He probably can’t even understand us if we spoke to him.

“Juanito! Clean this table next please!” The waitress who sat us down yelled from across the room, hoping he would hear her above the speakers and the chatter of the other customers. “Si, Señora Abbie!” He yelled in response while setting the last set of silverware down on the table.

I stopped scrolling on my phone to look up at him in disgust. “You should be speaking English in a place like this. It’s America. No wonder why you didn’t greet us. You can’t even understand us. Shame on you.” The busboy paused what he was doing for a second before simply nodding and walking away. How rude!

Daryl and the kids looked at me without saying a word. I didn’t think anything of it so I picked up my menu and started to look for appetizers. “Mom, why did you say that?” Jane asked after a moment of silence. She doesn’t know what kind of people those Mexicans are and she’s old enough to understand.

I set my menu down before turning to her. “Janey, those kinds of people are bad. They come to this country by jumping a fence and steal our jobs and freeload off of hard-working people like dad and me. They can’t even make an effort to speak our language and they think that it’s acceptable to do that. People like him shouldn’t be able to enter our country illegally and be able to work the jobs that homeless people should have instead just because they didn’t want to live in Mexico anymore.” She looked at me in confusion before looking at her father for clarification.

Daryl looked at her and then back at me before sighing. I could tell he was annoyed. “Elizabeth, please. She doesn’t need to know about this right now. Now’s not the time.” Why shouldn’t it be? Our kids should know the difference between the good people in the U.S. and the bad ones that take advantage of others and what better chance than when having one right in front of us?

I dropped the situation before things escalated further and ruined our night. After all, this is a celebration! After ordering our food (and some margaritas on the side), we lent the children money to play in the arcade for a little while so we could have some time to ourselves. I took a sip of the strawberry margarita before noticing the look that Daryl was giving me. I knew why he was giving me that look but I chose to ignore it.

“You didn’t have to tell our daughter that, Elizabeth. You know what thoughts like that do to a kid. She could be bullied at school for something like that.”

I stared at him in disbelief. “And who’s going to make fun of her? Those Mexican classmates that she has? I’d like to see them try! One phone call and their parents are deported. I don’t want our children to be friends with people like that. I don’t want them to stoop that low in life. They should be having fun at their ages for goodness sake!”

“I know but she doesn’t understand what they are yet. She will when she’s older but right now, their only job is to enjoy their childhood. We can teach them about those people when it’s time to but not this young. They haven’t even hit double digits yet for crying out loud.” He finished up his own margarita before flagging down the waitress for another one. He really has no control over drinks on this day.

He didn’t say anything to me for a while after that. I had to look around to keep myself from saying something that would ruin the night even more. Suddenly, I heard Jane and Jack’s laughter only to see them hitting the donkey thing with a bat and squirming through the other children to collect candies that fell to the floor from inside. At least they were having some kind of fun.

After a moment of watching them, I directed my focus to the news on one of the TVs across from where the table was, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. The title read:


You’re kidding me, right? Now they cheated their way into an ivy league college?! I looked at Daryl, who looked like he knew what was going to come out of my mouth after he saw the TV.

“This is exactly what I’m talking about. This shouldn’t be acceptable. That admission should have been given to a US Citizen that studied their ass off to apply and not some freeloader who smuggled their way to it! What has this world come to that now we have to worry about our children not getting into universities because of some immigrant? I cannot and will not have this future for my kids. Those people need to go back to wherever they came from.”

His posture became tense as he prepared to argue with me but was cut off by our food arriving and then the children who I’m guessing followed the smell of the nachos.

“Mommy, that guy that brought us the water helped us get the candy that we dropped from the donkey thing!” Jane said as she plopped the sombrero full of candy she had onto the table.

I’m going to need another couple of margaritas to get through the rest of this meal…