That Friday I was happily wandering around Bruxelles. After a few hours walking my stomach was rumbling, so I decided to grab some food. A local guide suggested me a tiny place in Rue de Dusquenoi. At first sight, it was surely not a very touristic place – out of the shop there was no big sign saying such things like ‘Where to have the best sandwich in Europe‘ or something similar. Just a small white dashboard saying that was possible to have a sandwich for 3 euros.
A bunch of people was queueing in front of me. I sat down in one of the two tables. ‘Bonjour monsieur’, said Garby when I first stepped in. I strangely felt I was in one of the homiest places on Earth.
Tonton Garby is from Morocco and he speaks at least French, English, and Spanish –fastly, he switched from one to another in few minutes – and he looks like the happiest person ever.
As he says, on the wall, on the table, and on the shop window, ‘he shows you the way’:
“I want no n. 1, I want no stars, I just want to see you happy. If you are happy, I’m happy! No show, no stress, take it easy and life will be beautiful!”
“Don’t forget – happy life, happy wife”
Then, it was my turn.
I asked him to make his favorite sandwich, I just didn’t have fancy to choose one from the pretty long list. He started to explain everything of all kinds of cheese he had, really not caring about the queue which was getting longer and longer. What a calmness! In a society where the more the clients, the more the money, quality is most of the times left well behind.
At the end, he began creating his artwork, a sandwich with black olives, tomatoes, mild goat cheese, and chorizo. He carefully lifted every tomato slice to fit the chorizo ones in between.
‘If you don’t like, you don’t pay!’, he was telling me.
In those 5 minutes my hunger boosted up a lot, but finally, I sat down again with my sandwich. I spent half an hour watching how he painstakingly prepared every sandwich and milkshake. The soft music I was listening to was perfectly matching the atmosphere of calmness and happiness I could really breathe there.
I paid, receiving back a row of ‘thank you, Sir, thank you for taking your time!’. I didn’t really know what to answer, if just ‘No worries, have a nice day’ or ‘Man, this is the happiest place in Bruxelles, isn’t it?’. At the end, all that I could say was ‘Thank you for your sandwich, it was amazing’.
I went out with a big smile on my face. And I kept it all day long, and when I now think about that guy, I’m still happy. That was the best sandwich of my life. Because it was much more than a sandwich.