Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. December 8: Super Luis Saves the Day

 

The light switch stopped working in my bathroom, right before Thanksgiving. Luis, my super, was off to visit family for the holiday so I rigged up some ad hoc lighting and asked if he could come by the next week to see what the problem was.

Turns out, the problem was my previous super, Carlos, who had “repaired” the same switch about 20 years ago with equal parts electrical tape and hope, both of which had now melted into a molten rubbery substance that had fused all the ancient, shorted-out wiring in my wall together.

“Don’t get me wrong,” I said to my father later, when I told him about the electrical meltdown, “Carlos was a good guy and a really hard worker. I just don’t think his technical skills were anywhere near ‘Super Luis’ standards.”

He laughed. “Super Luis?”

“Yeah. A few years ago, he happened to sign his Christmas card ’Super Luis’, rather than ‘Luis, the Super’ and he does such a great job around here that I wrote a note back to him with his Christmas tip that said, “You are Super Luis!” But of course, he already was my hero, before he ever became my super. I told you that story, remember?

My dad remembered. It’s the reason he thinks fondly of my super, even remembers the guy in his prayers, though they’ve never met. And for all the lovely encounters I’ve had with Luis since, it still is and always will be my fondest memory of the man.

It was the summer of 1998 and I’d been in this apartment for just over 2 years. I had a day job in midtown that paid enough to support my acting habit and was close enough to walk to. Nearly every morning, as I passed the Episcopal Church a few doors down from me, a guy whom I assumed (by his work boots and a giant ring of keys) was a sexton or custodian there would greet me with a smile and call out a cheery “G’morning!” I never had time for proper introductions, as I was always rushing to work but it was a nice start to my day. I looked forward to seeing him.

I missed him, though, when I set out hours earlier than usual, on a June day I’ll never forget. I’d booked a day’s work on a soap opera and had an early call. After a long shoot, I finally returned home sometime after 5pm and checked my messages for the first time that day. I can still hear my friend Chrystyna’s voice, choking back sobs as she told me the terrible news, that a beloved teacher and mentor of ours at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts had been in an accident and would likely be taken off life support soon. I tried calling Chrystyna back but got no answer. I think I called the school after that. I don’t remember. The next thing I do remember was grabbing my great-grandmother’s rosary off the dresser and running back out of my apartment. I needed to get to a church. Because I felt helpless, and there was nothing I could do for this beautiful lady I loved but pray.

When I reached the street, I suddenly realized that I didn’t even know where the nearest Catholic church was. I still attended mass near my old apartment, way downtown, because I’d never gotten around to finding a new parish after I moved. But I didn’t want to go all the way down there; I didn’t want to be the crazy lady, sobbing on a city bus, clutching her rosary. And what if they weren’t open when I got there? What then? Blinded by tears of sorrow and confusion now, I started toward the subway and then I heard a familiar voice call out, “Hello!” and looked up to see my friendly morning greeter.

One look at me and his smile quickly gave way to concern. “What happened?”

I looked past him to the church then managed to choke out, “Is it open?”

Without a word, he took my arm, took me up the steps, unlocked the doors, ushered me in, then whispered, “You take all the time you want,” and slipped quietly back outside. I gave him a hug when I emerged, a while later and finally asked his name. “Luis.”

Turned out, all the supers/custodians on my block knew each other and over the next few years, Luis would sometimes come in to help out Carlos on big jobs. When Carlos eventually decided to move back home to Ecuador, Luis made a lateral move over from the church and has been here ever since.

I adore the man. I love his spirit, his cheerfulness, his work ethic and attention to detail. I love how over the top he goes to decorate this place for Christmas every year and how he always forgives me for locking myself out again.

But I loved the guy before I knew any of that, indeed, before I even knew his name. Because with one simple act of kindness on one terrible summer day, he ensured that one of my very worst memories was immediately followed by one of my very best.

Published in Group Writing
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 17 comments.

  1. Arahant Member

    Beautiful.

    • #1
    • December 8, 2019, at 3:10 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  2. Clavius Thatcher

    This is a wonderful story. The priest at Mass this morning fashioned his homily around noticing the nice things people do for each other. This is a special thing.

    • #2
    • December 8, 2019, at 3:11 PM PST
    • 12 likes
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Luis sounds like a hellof a guy.

    • #3
    • December 8, 2019, at 3:19 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  4. kelsurprise, drama queen Member
    kelsurprise, drama queen Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Luis sounds like a hellof a guy.

    He’s de best!!!

    Again, though, I do not mean to malign Carlos, who was a real sweetheart. And we got along great — I’m quite sure that wherever he is, he would be very happy to know that he didn’t accidentally kill me in my sleep with his creative approach to wiring. 

    But Super Luis is just in a class all his own, no question. 

    • #4
    • December 8, 2019, at 3:29 PM PST
    • 12 likes
  5. Doug Watt Member

    Beautiful story, and as the Gael’s would say; Luis is a lovely man. Thank you for this essay.

    • #5
    • December 8, 2019, at 4:06 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  6. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Beautiful story, and as the Gael’s would say; Luis is a lovely man. Thank you for this essay.

    Same here. Thank you for posting this, Kel.

    • #6
    • December 8, 2019, at 4:18 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  7. Sandy Inactive

    I haven’t had time for Ricochet of late, and so checking in for a quick minute and finding this was a gift. Thanks, Kel.

    • #7
    • December 8, 2019, at 7:00 PM PST
    • 12 likes
  8. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    What a great story! Thanks so much for posting it!

    • #8
    • December 9, 2019, at 12:05 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor

    When people like Luis come into our lives, we are truly blessed. Thank you for sharing this story.

    • #9
    • December 9, 2019, at 5:49 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  10. Boss Mongo Member

    Great post, Kel. I got a little verklempt, there.

    • #10
    • December 9, 2019, at 6:27 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  11. kelsurprise, drama queen Member
    kelsurprise, drama queen Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Great post, Kel. I got a little verklempt, there.

    Thanks, Boss.

    I got a bit choked up myself, just remembering it, and remembering Harryetta, the teacher we lost that summer. But it also called to mind another incredible story I only heard about recently, in connection with her passing. 

    Found a link to it, here, for anyone who’s curious. And “Part Deux” is a sweet follow-up. 

    Thanks for reading, y’all! 

    • #11
    • December 9, 2019, at 7:03 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  12. MarciN Member

    My daughter is living in Manhattan at the moment. She told us over Thanksgiving that a fight broke out in front of her building a couple of weeks ago. A cab driver had done some minor thing to infuriate another driver, and the other driver was yelling at the beleaguered cabbie who was apologizing profusely and humbly.

    My daughter has lived in Manhattan for the last 18 months, and the experience has changed her. She emphatically and sympathetically yelled to the cabbie, “Just get out of here. This problem ends as soon as you leave.”

    We laughed, “Wow, Carrie. Good for you. Weren’t you afraid of the belligerent driver?”

    “Nah. My doorman weighs 200 pounds, and he loves me. He was standing right behind me. And everyone cheered me on!” :-) 

    • #12
    • December 9, 2019, at 8:15 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  13. kelsurprise, drama queen Member
    kelsurprise, drama queen Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MarciN (View Comment):

    My daughter has lived in Manhattan for the last 18 months, and the experience has changed her.

    Yeah . . . I feel like I was always a bit of a loudmouth so I didn’t really think city-living made much difference. My niece in KC, however, has summed up a few “discussions” she’s seen me have with cabbies or some other less-than-stellar service provider as “So then, my aunt just went all New York on the guy . . .”

    “Nah. My doorman weighs 200 pounds, and he loves me. He was standing right behind me. And everyone cheered me on!” :-) 

    Hahaha! I love that. I wanna meet this girl.

     

    • #13
    • December 9, 2019, at 8:31 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  14. MarciN Member

    My daughter Dr. Carrie Britt in a WSJ story about the Animal Medical Center where she is a resident:

     

     

    • #14
    • December 9, 2019, at 8:51 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  15. kelsurprise, drama queen Member
    kelsurprise, drama queen Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I know that Animal Hospital well – though thankfully, I’ve never needed their services. It’s just a few blocks from my apartment, right near an entrance to the East River pedestrian path.

    I’ll check the story out tomorrow, during my shift at the Deathstar, since I can access a free WSJ link there.

    • #15
    • December 9, 2019, at 8:58 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  16. Snirtler Member

    Wonderful post about a wonderful person. It’s helping me ward off cranky thoughts.

    • #16
    • December 9, 2019, at 7:13 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  17. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    This post is part of December’s theme: “Memories.” Tell us about someone super in your life; sign up soon, before the days are all taken!

    • #17
    • December 9, 2019, at 11:37 PM PST
    • 4 likes