If Mitt Romney comes back to Colorado before election day on November 6 -- and he will, since this state is still in play -- he has an invitation for a "family meal" with the Aguirres at Rosa Linda's Mexican Cafe.
But if he accepts this invitation, he can leave the cameras, and the campaign, at the door.
Back in 1985, when Virgil Aguirre was having trouble finding work in depressed Denver, he and his wife, Rosa Linda, opened Rosa Linda's at 2005 West 33rd Avenue. The area was far from the "hippest hipster neighborhood" that Forbes just labeled it, so they've seen hard times.
But the Aguirres had never seen times as wild as they got last week, when our story about how the family had declined a request to be part of the Romney campaign -- Rosa Linda and Virgil are Mormon, as well as natives of Mexico -- raced around the globe, resulting in harassment, even death threats. But those were quickly followed by an incredible outpouring of support.
Here's the statement that Oscar Aguirre, the oldest son who's worked at the restaurant since he was a kid, just posted on Facebook:
I would like send you the biggest hug we could give you! Statements on behalf of myself (Oscar) and the Aguirre Family have been issued by my brother Virgilio, Westword's Editor Patty Calhoun & State Representative Crisanta Duran. But those who know me know that I want to send you a HUGE GRACIAS (thank you) in person.
With that said: We extend an apology to the Romney family and invite you to come down, have a family meal with us. It was a misunderstanding and I'm sure they are getting the same amount of grief.
As for us: The response has been over whelming and it has been one of the hardest periods in our lives. As much as the negativity got to us, it was your positive response that helped us get through it! We have been besieged with kindness, more than what we can ever expect...Gracias!!! Our community has united and gotten stronger! I have shed a few tears on camera; I have shed a few tears in private in the arms of my family. We have gotten massive amounts of words of encouragement from people that we have never met, from all over the world!
I don't want to admit that we have been overwhelmed, but when you get support from elected officials and some massive bear hugs from complete strangers, you can't help but feel humbled! It has united our family as we are trying to get back to being normal -- but more than anything, it has given us hope. Hope that we can unite as a family, a neighborhood, a city, a state, and a nation under god. We can't thank you enough for your love and support but nonetheless all we can say is Thank you!
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Want to add to this happy ending? The Aguirres do an annual free Thanksgiving feast for the needy -- a practice Rosa Linda started in 1985, and last year fed over 6,000 people. This year, they're hoping to expand on that, and are asking would-be do-gooders to come up with lists of people in their own communities who are in need, and then deliver meals from Rosa Linda's to them. Get more details at the restaurant.
Where did Mitt Romney eat when he was in Denver last week? See for yourself in our post "Photo: Mitt Romney at Stapleton Chipotle pays extra for guacamole -- big spender!"