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Burrito man mourned at 'Carlos's corner'

Carmen Diaz, wife of Carlos Guardado, and her children weep at the makeshift memorial for Guardado at 17th and K streets NW. Customers and friends stopped to pay their respects at the site where Guardado ran his food cart for nearly two decades. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

Every day there are certain people you pass: the coffee barista, the bus driver, the burrito man. A person could go years exchanging a few words and a smile with these periphery people. They become a part of your routine, so ingrained it's easy to forget they make up a rich part of our daily lives. That's one of the reasons why The Post's front-page story today was so surprising and touching.

It was an obituary for a man whom many people passed every day on the street. Some stopped for a coffee or a burrito. Others gossiped about soccer with him. But many did not realize what kind of friend they had until Carlos Guardado died last week after suffering a heart attack.

A refugee from El Salvador, he made his way from illegal immigrant to burrito salesman and ruled over his cart for nearly 20 years. His is a gorgeous tale and a slice of life everyone should take a moment to savor. Read the story here. And read customers' memories -- or share your own -- here.

By Melissa Bell  | October 7, 2010; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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You can count me among the heartbroken. I used to buy coffee from Carlos every day. He truly was one of the nicest people I have ever met. I will never forget Carlos -- he was really one of a kind.

Posted by: cplcespod | October 7, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Carlos' memory will last and last. What a sterling character. I so enjoyed Steve's article which speaks so well to this gentleman's character. My prayers for his family.

Posted by: RosieinSugarHillGA | October 8, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

This one took me to the Kleenex box. I showed the article to my wife and she read it as well. I supplied her with tissues. She and I both grieve for his family. One comment she made that I happened to be thinking about myself at the same moment: we're wondering how Dick Cheney is feeling these days.

Posted by: rator | October 8, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

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