You know all those people you see every single day whose names you might not know—the cashiers, baristas, servers, receptionists, and doormen? Well, if you know them, they definitely know you. When my husband and I owned a food business, we knew every single person who walked through that door more than once, even if they never said hello. Though they didn’t realize it, our regular customers created patterns that came to define each day. We knew when we could expect to see them, and we’d subconsciously prepare for the moment they’d walk in the door. People who work in the service industry show up in brief moments of your day, but for them, those brief moments make up the entire day.
Having spent the majority of my adult life in the service industry, I forget that many people aren’t aware of this. I’ve been reminded of that fact this week thanks to a viral TikTok video posted by user @SidewalkPizza in which she shares a heartwarming voicemail she once received from the owner of Taco Tom’s Lonchera in Vancouver, Washington. (Thanks to Newsweek for first making us aware of this video.)
The user, named Ker, explained in a follow-up video that she’s been a regular patron of Thomas’s for 12 years, but a heath issue in 2018 kept her away from her favorite taco truck for several months. She and Thomas had previously coordinated orders via phone, which is how the proprietor had her number; after not seeing her for a while, he decided to give her a call to make sure she was okay.
“This is Thomas, from the taco truck,” he says in the 2018 voicemail, heard in the TikTok video. “It’s a long time since I seen you, and I’m worried about you. How are you? I hope you’re good. Okay, take care, bye.”
So far over 3 million people have watched the voicemail video; some viewers left comments asking how they could support Taco Tom’s from afar, and sent donations to Ker to pass along. In another follow-up video, Ker hands Thomas an envelope of donations from TikTok well-wishers.
“I just want to say thank you to everybody,” said Thomas. “I know it’s from your heart.”