The scene: Chipotle in Fig Garden, the day after the 4th of July, with me corralling my visiting family into a brisk early lunch so they can get on the road back to the coast. We’re sitting at the big circular table, the one closest to where you order. My two nephews, 5 and 7, tackle quesadillas and watch people in line.
The nice guys: a big group of Fresno firefighters, in burly blue, on a break. They stand there, talking and joshing with each other, likely relieved that the hectic pace of the holiday has given way to a saner Monday.
The moment: one of the firefighters, noticing my nephews, interrupts his conversation, opens his wallet, takes out two shiny gold stickers and presents them to both boys.
The prize: My nephews eagerly peer at the stickers, which are identical gold badges that read: “JUNIOR FIREFIGHTER, City of Fresno Fire Department.”
The reaction: Pure delight. After lunch, the older one (pictured above), said, “The food here was just OK, but at least I got THIS,” clutching his sticker. (A future restaurant critic, that one.).
Awww. Thanks, fire people. You’re pretty cool.