photo: Instagram/bycindyrodriguez

To all of the eloteros across the world, this letter goes out to you.

I can't even begin to count the ways you've impacted my life. Every summer, like clockwork, you roam the streets with your heavy cart and a horn in hand to let people know that you're coming. You've been around for every major summer event, every unofficial family and friends gathering I've had, and somehow you've managed to be around on the days when I'm really just craving an elote. I don't know what the universe is trying to tell me, but you have always been there when I needed you. 

I cannot imagine how tired your feet must feel, or how calloused your fingers might get. I can't even begin to process the amount of hours you put in and miles you walk every day to make ends meet. Yet you always greet people the only way you know how: with a smile on your face. 

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You're a true Latino hustler of the street, you just don't get the adequate recognition you deserve. Some might just look at you as a portal to a meal, but you play such a large role in people's lives. Like a long lost family member, I nervously wait for you as I look out the window hoping that you haven't passed the block yet. In the age of technology, I wish I could track you down, but part of the magic is not knowing when you'll be here. So I wait, and I wait, until your presence takes over the streets.

Your skills are addicting to watch — you do everything so quickly and effortlessly. This isn't something that they can teach you in school, you've learned it on the streets and not even the top restaurants can compare. You're always a bit shy but the moment I speak to you in Spanish, your eyes light up. You help me brush up on it and teach me all the complex words and phrasings I've forgotten as I've gotten older. I can only begin to wonder how many people approach you without knowing a single word in español, but you make it work. 

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Now let's get down to the food: How do you make it so damn tasty? I've tried to replicate every step, even after you've told me, and it's never the same. I'm beginning to think that you're not sharing your secret ingredient, but why would you? A scholar wouldn't give someone else their thesis, a Michelin starred restaurant won't tell you what's in its popular dishes' sauce, etc. I dream about your food the way I dream about my mother's, and that's saying something. 

I'm writing this letter to say thank you.

Your hard work does not go unnoticed. You're inspiring and are proof that no matter where you came from, you matter to someone. It may seem ridiculous to profess my love to you in such a manner, but I've got a couple of people who feel the same way.

So when you go home and rest your tired body, please know that you have such an effect on people. Whether it be as small as just giving them their order, or something larger like a deep conversation, you manage to hear us all out. We appreciate that you put your heart and soul into this and we can't wait for summertime weather so that we can meet again.

Keep on hustling and proving to people that what you do is just as important as someone who's sitting at a desk job. We love you, I love you, and we can't wait to see you soon!


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