Taco Casa


One of my favorite restaurants is a little place called Taco Casa. I’ve been eating there every month or so for the past 25 years, starting a few years after I graduated from Furman. They’re closed on Sundays, so I like to go on Saturdays and get there just before they open at 11.

A few weeks ago, I arrived at 10:57 and parked in my usual spot, at the corner of the building where I can see the front door through the side window. That gives me a good vantage point to know when they unlock the door. There was one other car there, parked right in front; apparently they were employing the same strategy as me.

I had never felt compelled to bring a copy of my book into a restaurant before, but I was feeling the urge that day. I didn't know what I was supposed to do with it, I just knew I was supposed to bring it. So I grabbed a copy from behind my seat and grabbed my reading glasses.

When they unlocked the door, an elderly gentleman got out of the car parked in front, so I followed him inside and up to the counter. Apparently, he must have been a regular because they had his takeout order ready before he finished paying. I said something along the lines of, “Looks like you beat me today.” He turned and looked at me, and without saying a word, pulled something out of his pocket and handed it to me. It was a religious tract. The title was “Eternal Life is a Free Gift.”

I paused for a couple of seconds, staring down at the tract in my hand, and then it hit me. I placed my book on the counter and said, “Thanks, and here’s something for you. Don’t judge a book by its cover, there’s a lot of good stuff in there.” He picked it up and glanced at it, gave me a handshake, and said, “God bless you.” I said the same to him and he walked out the door.

As it turned out, we gave each other the same message: God’s gift of salvation is free. When you accept His gift, you do not, as the church teaches, suddenly owe Him ten percent of all your money. You do, however, suddenly receive the indwelling of the Spirit to lead you in all areas of your life, which includes all giving.