This is an old story, but I’ve never written about it, and I need to be reminded that there is good in the world.
In the mid 1970s, Moises Treves was a day cook at a small taco stand on the island of Cozumel, Mexico, By all accounts he made the best tacos in town, and American tourist Judy Anderson, a school teacher who visited the island several times, was a special fan of them. On one visit in 1977, Judy, traveling alone as usual, invited him to accompany her to the Mayan pyramids in the Yucatan Peninsula. Moises happily agreed and served as her tour guide. They had lunch, speaking as best they could to each other using Judy’s limited Spanish and Moises’ broken English.
During the meal, Judy asked Moises if he had any ambition to open his own restaurant. Ah, he said, that was his dream, but he despaired of it ever coming true. He just didn’t have the money, and couldn’t seem to save anything. Judy responded,”Such is life!,” an expression that Moises had never heard. He asked Judy about it, and the saying stuck in his mind.
As the lovely day came to a close, the two friends said goodbye: Moises was about to take the ferry back to the Cozumel, and Judy was heading o the airport and then home to United States. Mysteriously, Judy gave Moises a sealed envelope and told him not to open it until he was home.
When Moises opened the envelope, he found five $100 bills. They were accompanied by a letter that said,
“Dear Moises. Go make ‘Such is Life’ happen. Love Judy.”
Inspired, Moises used the money to open a small restaurant in Cozumel, which, he named “Such is Life.” His unique style of authentic Mexican cooking made the new eatery an instant success, and in 1992, he moved “Such is Life”to Phoenix, where he and the restaurant achieved local fame. He opened a second award-winning restaurant in Scottsdale, also named, “Such is Life.” His menus included the story about Judy and the envelope, but he was never able to track his benefactor down to let her know that her act of kindness had changed his life. She had never returned to the island since the day they had lunch together.
On a lark, Moises contacted the syndicated TV show “Unsolved Mysteries, and the show dramatized his fateful daye with Judy in its May 16, 1997 episode. Judy Anderson saw it, called the phone center and soon got in contact with Moises. They had an emotional reunion at “Such is Life,” hosted by the show. She had no idea what had become of Moises until she saw the broadcast.
Treves died in 2014, a beloved and legendary restaurateur hailed as a “Mexican regional cuisine pioneer,” whose dream, thanks to the impulsive gesture of a stranger, came true.
Such is life!
Pointer and Source: Unsolved Mysteries