Okay, time for a feel-good story. I heard this third-hand. Some of the facts might be screwy, but the event is a fact. I think.
This one is about an American family who lived in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for three years. Shortly after they arrived, the family (Mom, Dad, and two middle-school-aged children) decided to order a pizza for delivery. This is pretty common in Sao Paulo (as is ordering any food, since it’s such a pain to drive to a restaurant during the week).
The father called the pizzaria number and asked for two pizzas. The pizza restaurant owner responded, but the father’s Portuguese was so bad, he couldn’t understand. So, he repeated his order for two pepperoni pizzas a bit louder in his broken Portuguese. Again, the owner tried to explain something to him, and again he couldn’t understand. He gave the order and the address, and asked if he’d been understood. “Entendi?” “Entendi.”
Sure enough, the two pizzas arrived and the father paid the delivery man. All was well and the family was happy.
Every Friday night for the next three years, except when they were traveling, the family ordered the same two pepperoni pizzas from the same pizza shop. Then the day came when it was time to move.
Years later, through a set of bizarre circumstances, the father found out that for three years, he hadn’t been calling the pizza shop at all, but rather a local Japanese family. Understanding that he wanted pizza and wasn’t able to call for himself, the family had originally made the call for pizza on the father’s behalf, recognizing that an American family needed pizza.
They had made that same call every Friday night for three years, as the family continued to call them to order their pizza.
I choose to believe that this is not a urban myth. Tom and I both heard the story and loved it. Somehow, it so truly exemplifies the Brazilian way and courtesy.