A young beach vendor from Acapulco has become a celebrity overnight after a video showing him selling empanadas in his own original way went viral.
Francisco Orihuela Ramírez, 15, is not only a successful salesman, he is also proficient enough to offer his homemade products in 10 different languages — Spanish, English, French, Italian, Dutch, German, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic and Hebrew — to tourists on the beaches of Acapulco.
Paco, as he is known by his family, is fond of music, plays the guitar and is an avid reader. He also prepares his own products, mostly empanadas, but sometimes a dessert known as flan as well. What he wasn’t prepared for was the instant stardom and attention he has received in the last week.
In his unique way, the youth approaches beachgoers and instantly attracts their attention: “What you’re missing is a little snack, like some empanaditas, don’t you think? A good purchase today, as I have ham and cheese, cheese and ham, and diet shark. Salsa and napkins are on the house to draw you in, what do you say?”
Paco can be heard telling his customers that “if you don’t buy empanadas from me now, you’ll have to wait 86,400 seconds, which amount to the 24 hours between today and tomorrow, time you’ll spend wondering why you didn’t have an empanada today.”
“If the quality of the empanada is not good enough to satisfy your palates’ needs, I would immediately proceed to refund your money,” he said, before relentlessly going on to give his customers no option but to buy two orders.
Paco walks six days a week from the Gran Hotel to the Calinda Hotel, in the Santa Lucía bay area. “It’s several hours,” he said, “depending on how hard I work that day.”
But work, for Paco, is not a burden. “. . . you’ve got to see it as a fun part of your routine. It’s easier that way.”
“I’ve liked business since I was a kid. In primary school I brought lots of candies and sold them. It’s what I do,” said young entrepreneur told the newspaper Milenio.
Of his sales spiel, he said he was born with it. “I like to do it, see people react to my speech. It’s amusing. Of course I am thinking about what I’m going to say, I always try to do something different, to stand out, but in the end, it’s all just fun.”
The viral recording of that spiel went far, reaching the director of strategic alliances at Telmex, Elías Ayub, who said in a tweet he wanted to get in touch with Paco.
“I’m not joking. If someone knows how to get in touch with him, I would thank you. I want to bring him to work with me NOW.”
The businessman’s enthusiastic tweet paid off and he soon was in contact by phone with Paco’s parents, to whom he offered a scholarship for their son.
In a video posted on his Facebook page, Ayub said he learned that both parents are working and they are all right economically. “They said that they are doing OK, and that they don’t need a scholarship, nor are they in need of anything, and that Paco’s video going viral was serendipitous.”
“It is kids like Paco, who are willing to work, who are the entrepreneurs we must help and support, because they make the country a better place,” said Ayub in his recording.
Paco, for his part, said he felt proud of all the attention and thanked Ayub for his words, “and for buying five empanadas.”
Paco said he was interested in meeting people like Ayub, “because we always need investors.”
Video that went viral (in Spanish).