We attended the Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner last week. What we liked best were the fabulous intros to the recipients. We learned so much about many people! Later, it occurred to us that there was so much more to know about Nacho Ramirez, new business recipient for Nacho’s Cafe. Who better to blow his horn than the co-chairpersons of the only official Nacho Ramirez fan club: us!
Nacho came to Texas 30 years ago. He thought he had nothing, absolutely nothing. We’re not counting the packets of salt, pepper and catsup he’d stuffed in his pocket to flavorize whatever food he might find. But what does a 17-year old know? He also brought with him a willingness to work and work hard...the self-confidence to take on anything not likely to kill him outright... determination... an intelligence that could learn quickly and find solutions to problems... natural leadership and team spirit. In reality, he had everything, absolutely everything!
He walked from Del Rio to Mason in 19 days. It was his intention to go to Dallas; we almost didn’t get him! His first job was working with cattle and fences, neither of which he’d done before. He learned how to saddle a horse by doing each step 1 second after the cowboys; he learned how to ride by just climbing aboard. He solved his horse’s habit of breaking the ride to return to the food barn by creating a new route to the work site. Quick learning... confidence... creativity and problem-solving!
Once, an immigration officer refused to believe Nacho was legal, hauled him off, and plopped him down across the border. Because of how it was handled, Nacho had absolutely no papers on him. In an ironic twist, our legal alien had to swim the Rio Grande to return to his wife and home. Unfortunately, Nacho didn’t know how to swim! Except for one hiccup when the current swept him off his feet, taking his outer clothes with it, our scantily clad water rat succeeded and was eventually found by wife, Lisa. Determination.
In 2008, Nacho became a U.S. citizen in Austin. We were there. If you think about it, Nacho had always had those qualities we value in ourselves.
Next stop: fulfilling the American dream, business ownership! Having worked as a cook for 28 years, Nacho had long wanted his own restaurant. When Nacho acquired his cafe, he had to outfit the kitchen, decorate the dining area, acquire dining supplies, negotiate funding, hire staff and do a million other things. He looked at the empty rooms and announced that the cafe would open in 6 weeks! He made his deadline and Nacho’s Cafe opened on Sept. 12, 2011.
As his fan club chairpersons, we’re so proud of Nacho! But we know we’re joined by everyone who knows him; we’re all proud of him and so happy that the Mason Chamber of Commerce awarded him for his young business.
JT and Helen Liston