Sometimes a smile is all it takes!

Published 10:11 am Monday, June 8, 2015

People come in and out of our lives daily. Some stay for brief periods while others stay for a while. Some of these folks have resounding and long-term effects on our lives while others are in and out and don’t even leave a mark. Then there are those we see in passing, like when you go to your favorite restaurant. Some are individuals that bring you back to the same place time and time again, simply because of their fantastic personality.

My wife and I are weekly visitors to the La Cantina Mexican Grill on Memorial in Port Arthur. Yea, we like the food as I’m a huge fan of a good Chimichanga, but more than that we love the people and the atmosphere.

During the flooding that engulfed Houston over the week of May 25-29, Jose Yebra-Ibarra, a waiter that worked at La Cantina, lost his life when his truck was submerged in the high flood waters. Jose was one of my favorite waiters at La Cantina Mexican Grill. He always had a smile on his face, visited with you sharing laughs and made sure we enjoyed our visit. I tried, but I can’t remember one visit that this did not happen.

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As I read the story about Jose’s passing in the May 29 edition of the Port Arthur News, I was in shock. I didn’t want to understand that he would not be at the La Cantina the next time we went. We don’t often realize how much a simple smile from a kind person can change your day for the better. Maybe that’s why we would return with such regularity. We knew Jose would be able to reduce the stress of the day just by being himself, a good person with an infectious smile.

We will continue to enjoy the La Cantina Mexican Grill and the many great people who work there. However, there will be one missing and he will definitely be missed each and every time we go. Rest in peace my friend, may your smile follow you always!

Rich Macke is publisher of The Port Arthur News. Contact him at