Guzman y Gomez isn’t just about the food – it’s about friendships, community and sharing. So it’s no surprise that when someone in the Guzman y Gomez community needed support, the team was there to lend a hand.
When Logan local Heiva Solien set out for some Christmas shopping with her aunt, she couldn’t have guessed that her day would end so disastrously. Hit by an out-of-control car while walking along a footpath near the Logan City Centre shopping mall, the 11-year-old sustained serious injuries – foot lacerations and a fractured knee, femur, pelvis and tailbone – and was taken to Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital for treatment.
When going into her second surgery to set the broken bones, Heiva was told she would have to fast. Unsurprisingly, she was dreaming about her favourite foods when she asked her mum, Maiana Tahiata, to get her a Guzman y Gomez chicken burrito for when she woke up.
“The combination in the kids burrito is what Heiva loves. She says it’s just tasty,” says mum Maiana. “She’s a pretty fussy kid, but she always finishes it.”
As with all aspects of Heiva’s recovery, her aunt shared her progress with little stories – like her yearning for that elusive chicken burrito – with her friends at dance school, family and ultimately Guzman y Gomez.
“We wanted to make it a special Christmas for Heiva, even though she was sore and in hospital,” Maiana says. “On Christmas Eve at midnight, after she fell asleep, myself and one of Heiva’s aunties brought all of her gifts up to the hospital and decorated her room with lights.
“Usually our whole family – aunties, uncles and cousins – cook lots of food and we all spend it together. We have a huge family so we all bring a lot of food, but this year hospital visits and parking meant money was tight and we didn’t even have time to go to the shops and buy the food for Christmas Day.”
When Guzman y Gomez heard about young Heiva’s plight and her love of Mexican food, they knew they had to do something over the festive period.
🎄ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS is GYG🎄
Our dear niece just had her 2nd surgery & after a 24hr fast waiting for surgery ……
“When we heard about Heiva’s love of Guzman y Gomez and her accident, which impacted the whole family, how could we not offer to make their Christmas just a little brighter?” says Nikki Richardson, GYG’s Queensland general manager.
With just hours to plan a party, the team pooled its resources to organise a Christmas Day celebration that Heiva would never forget.
On Christmas Day, with their own families at home, the South Bank Guzman y Gomez team put together one big, special order. Packing burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, burrito bowls and, of course, extra guac, they brought Christmas lunch to the extended family at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital.
“I couldn’t believe it. It was just so kind,” Maiana says. “Even though this awful thing happened to our girl, we were just so grateful for all the lovely things people were doing for our family. It was just so kind for Guzman y Gomez to cater for our family so that we could all spend Christmas together. It really meant a lot and if you know Islanders, you’ll know it is all about the food!”
Although Heiva was in hospital, she was able to enjoy the festive spirit thanks to the hospital staff, her family and Guzman y Gomez.
“We’ve been fans of Guzman y Gomez for so long now,” Maiana says. “Food-wise, the chicken is real chicken and the veggies are real veggies. I know because my husband used to deliver all the veggies to all the Guzman y Gomez stores in Brisbane. The food is just so good and real. What they have done for us is truly unique.”
It’s easy to see that Guzman y Gomez’s gesture of a Christmas lunch meant so much to Heiva and her family.
“I have three words to describe them now: caring, kind and generous,” Maiana says. “Oh and number four: YUM! Guzman y Gomez definitely lifted Heiva’s spirits and the visits from Nikki helped her feel loved.”
Guzman y Gomez is all about the happy, caring Mexican spirit, the food and the warm sense of community. It’s not just words in a mission statement – our people support the extended Guzman y Gomez family with good food and good vibes.
Nikki Richardson sums it up best: “Knowing that we were able to help Heiva’s family, even just a little bit, was really important and special to the whole team and our families. They supported us in leaving our own celebrations on Christmas Day to shine a little light for a family in need of some holiday spirit.”