In honor of my dear friend Ruben Hernandez who passed away this month I wanted to post a few fun short stories about the man himself.
1. Ruben and the Mafia
One hot day this past summer Ruben calls me out of the blue and says he wants to take me to lunch to Gallo Blanco. “Very nice,” I think and wonder how he is going to pick me up as I knew he didn’t have a car at the time.
At noon on the dot, I hear the loud trill of a horn outside and see a brand new lime green Toyota Prius outside. Sure enough, old Ruben is piloting the beast. As I hop in the ride, I ask how he bought this vehicle and Ruben smoothly replies that “business has been booming” and that hes making some changes due to this. “Alright,” I say. I am proud of Ruben but still a little in disbelief as from my experience Ruben has not had much luck with cars unfortunately. While enjoying some delicious pozole at lunch he pulls out another surprise, a brand new iPhone 4. Now I’m really impressed as Ruben had ALWAYS been a flip-phone user. I congratulate him on joining the 21st century and joked, “I don’t want to know what your up to Ruben, which mafia you joined, and I dont care. Because now you’ll be easier to meet up with and call with all your new gadgets.” He slyly laughs it off, not entirely convincing me that he was not in the mafia.
Several nights later when he pulls up in the old minivan I am used to seeing I ask, “What about the new ride?” Ruben laughs that I had been so gullible and then explains that he was doing a week-long test drive as part of a promotional deal that Toyota was doing, but that he had to give it back. I chuckled and was a little disappointed about the car, but overjoyed that at least he would still have the iPhone.
2. Ruben and his Lessons on Fashion
So Ruben invites me one Saturday this past April to head to the disco at Mijana in Tempe. Specifically it was a belly-dancing performance with dinner so I think “Cool”, as I was recently single and looking to get back out on the scene. I arrive to Rubens house and he doesn’t hide his disappointment with my choice of wardrobe. He says my graphic “Always Sunny in the City of Lust” t-shirt is not hip enough and says I should change into a much better shirt that he has pulled out just for me. As I had been out of the game for a while, I figured Ruben may be right even though I was a bit nervous about what he was about to bring me.
My first reaction to the shirt Ruben extends to me is a shudder as I think that I might have to actually wear it. I didn’t want to hurt Ruben’s feelings, but how was he going to put me in this shirt? It was dark brown and had a design that seemed like a leopard print throughout and said “Colombia” in the center. It also had yellow and orange stripes around the neck and both sleeves. It basically looked like something you’d find at the airport gift-shop on your way out of Medellin. I wasn’t too sure about Ruben’s selection but what did I know I figured and put it on.
All went well at the belly-dance show, it wasn’t until I met some friends later in Scottsdale that I realized anything was wrong with my outfit.
At the Scottsdale nightclub, I offered conversation to a few ladies but no one was interested. Not expecting this, I checked my breath thinking surely I had a hummus bean from Mijana stuck in my tooth, but nothing. A friend of mine, seeing me perplexed solved the mystery by asking me, “Buddy, what is that shirt?” I told him my friend had recommended it to which he replied, “That ain’t your friend.” and walked away.
3. No Bikini Pics, Dude
Just two months ago in mid September, Ruben sends me a note saying, “Dude, I got you a story for your grand opening.” He means that as our PR contact hes landed us some media coverage for the grand opening of Coworking on 15th Ave. As I am super-excited, Ruben explains its the North Central News and they want a picture. Specifically, he says, “No bikini pics dude.” I smirkingly tell him, “No guarantees” but proceed to send him an appropriate picture for the story. Over the next few weeks, as I was busy planning for the grand opening, I completely forget about it.
Then I receive word that Ruben fell ill and I planned to visit him in the hospital later that day. Earlier that morning my financial adviser calls me up and asks if I had seen the paper. She told me I was on the cover. Surprised, I went to see Ruben in the hospital. Although I don’t know if he understood me, I told him I had made the front page and that it was all due to him. I held his hand there in the hospital and thanked him for his help in getting me where I was and supporting my dream. As I walked out of the hospital, I laughed to myself, thinking of Ruben’s advice, “No bikini pics, dude.”