Walking the long hallway into the dining room at Macayo’s Mexican restaurant on Central Avenue in Phoenix, I noticed an unusual medal next to a framed photo in one of the display cases mounted on the wall. It was a trident, the symbol and badge of U.S. Navy SEALS, some of whom were apparently gathered together in the accompanying photo. Below the photo, a message:
Macayo’s Mexican Restaurant
Thank you for your support during
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM
From the men of SEAL TEAM FIVE
About a week later, I phoned the Macayo’s on Central Avenue and spoke to a hostess who connected me with a manager who had no idea what I was talking about, but suggested maybe the marketing department had done something to support the Navy Special Operations unit.
I thought that sounded slightly unusual, as the SEALs are no run-of-the-mill infantry unit, but a fairly secretive and specialized group — not the type of unit whose address is easily obtained.
The manager connected me with a second manager, Jennifer Villa, who explained that five or six years ago an executive who had since left the company had a son in SEAL Team Five and that the restaurant had sent several care packages with food and comforts from home.
Villa would not give me the name of the executive, but gave me the name and number of her assistant, Erica (no last name given). Erica said she was not even with the company at the time and provided no further information about the plaque or the executive (she seemed genuinely at a loss for information), but she referred me to Emily Lamar in the marketing department to get further details.
Emily emailed me today and said she’d look into it. I’ve used Google to try to connect Macayo’s to the Navy or to discover what female executive might have been the mother of the SEAL, but I’ve had no success.