Who doesn’t like a good burger? Ok, maybe a vegetarian, but probably even they like a good veggie burger, right? I live dangerously close to a Five Guys burger joint. I have to exercise incredible restraint in order to not end up there too often. Well, you might find yourself wanting a burger by the end of this post.
Late in the evening of day 247, I spotted a guy crossing Connecticut Avenue carrying what looked like high chairs that restaurants have for small children. I hurried across the street to catch up with the man who was now loading them into a vehicle. It was close to midnight and I was interested in what someone does with restaurant high chairs in the middle of the night.
I called out to the man and he turned to face me. Julio is a manager for the Five Guys on Connecticut Avenue in the Dupont area. He explains to me that he noticed that the high chairs needed to be repaired so he was taking them home to fix them. I wasn’t surprised that the 34-year-old was looking out for kids when I learned that he was the father of four daughters and one son. The oldest is 16 and the youngest is ten months!
Before joining the fast growing burger chain, Julio was doing work on floors in VA. Before that he said he was living in Brooklyn, NY. I asked some more questions about what he was doing in NY and he looked at me very squarely and told me that he spent 14 years in New York State prison. I asked him what he was convicted of and he just said “violence.” Now you might think that this would make me a little nervous, not at all. He is the nicest guy. “I’ve learned a lot about life,” he says. “I got spiritual.” He was released four years ago and moved his family away from his old barrio to the DC area to start over.
Now here is the part I started to question. How was his wife having these kids while he was serving his sentence… He told me that he had kids that were 16, 11, 8, 2 and 10 months. How was he having kids while he was in prison? The answer: conjugal visits. Yep! I actually did a little research on this and according to Wikipedia conjugal visit privileges have been removed from all federal prisons and all but six state systems: California, Connecticut, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York and Washington. I am not condoning criminal behavior, but if you are going to commit a crime I recommend one of those states. I’m just saying.
All that seems left of his past are some tattoos that decorate his arms. “I was young,” he says referring to the fact that he was incarcerated at the age of 16. He says that his focus now is on work and spending time with his wife and five children. I asked him where he would like to be in 10 years and he said he hoped to own a couple of Five Guys franchises and possibly get into real estate. He could use some help getting there though. “I could use some financial planning advice,” he told me. He wants to make sure that he manages his finances in such a way that he is able to realize his goals. If any good financial planners out there are willing to do some pro-bono work, let me know and I can connect you with Julio. Speaking of money…Julio said my $10 would get spent on gas. He drives back and forth to Maryland every day for work.
So now the fun part. Did you think I was going to end this without giving your stomach something to think about? Well, I couldn’t resist asking Julio what his favorite burger was. He said that was easy. “Cheeseburger, all the sauces – ketchup, A-1, Bar-B-Q and hot sauce – pickles, onions and extra cheese.” And with that he says you gotta order the Cajun fries. Or maybe a little bit of both the Five Guys style and Cajun fries.
Now as I explained on Day 238 to Paul, Five Guys is awesome (and they are even more awesome for investing in a good guy like Julio), but my favorite burger is from Ray’s Hellburger in Rosslyn, VA. He said he hadn’t heard of Ray’s so some day I am going to take Julio over there with me and get him a burger. Heck, maybe Paul will come with us too!