Loss, Addiction and Triumph: The story behind the popular Mi Cocinita food truck
“God always turns ashes into something beautiful. And I’m proof of it.”
ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - When you go to Mi Cocinita, you’ll see a bright red food truck, a couple of kids and owner Yvette Hernandez’s late brother in the window.
“I was in the streets, I was doing drugs. I was in the streets, I was selling drugs. I was doing a lot of things I wasn’t supposed to. My brother was really big on ‘get your stuff together for my nieces and nephews. Get your life together. They need a good mom.’ Their dad was never there. So my brother was my brother, my supporter, my dad, my kids’ dad... He was everything to us.”
Gilbert died in 2015, but his tough love for his sister Yvette remained.
“A couple months after my brother died I tried committing suicide,” Yvette Hernandez said. “I felt like my brother saved my life. I almost felt like my brother stuck his fingers done my throat and was pushing out the pills. I remember the next day I woke up and I just thought ‘you know what, God? This is not what I’m supposed to be doing. I have so much more.”
After her survived suicide attempt, Hernandez battled an all-consuming meth addiction.
“My ex-husband went to prison and I was going to be a single mom for the first time ever. That’s when I got addicted to meth,” Hernandez explained. “It was just a roller coaster of downhills. My kids would be home by themselves for hours. There were times I’d come home and my mom would be in the driveway mad, like, ‘where were you at?’ And I’m like ‘I’m getting high and I don’t care.’”
Hernandez says that with God and her brother looking after her, her life started to change.
Now, she is able to provide a better life for her and her seven children.
“My oldest kids especially have seen me to where I was selling drugs with them in the car, and punishing them because they wouldn’t sit still. Now, the little ones get to run free because they don’t have to deal with that! So my kids are just like, ‘mom this isn’t fair!’ And it is not fair. But I’m glad that my babies now don’t have to deal with what y’all had to deal with. I’m glad that I’ve changed to where now it’s like ‘come on let’s go work at the food truck!’ We don’t have to sell drugs anymore,” Hernandez said.
As the sign in her window says, “They thought you couldn’t make it... but I know you could.” And her brother always did know Hernandez could.
“Losing my brother was one of the best things that could’ve happened to me. If I hadn’t lost my brother, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I wouldn’t have pushed myself to keep going for his nieces and nephews,” Hernandez said. “I could’ve given up and gone back to the streets. He would’ve expected me to. But I had to make my brother proud. This is what would have made my brother proud.”
For Mi Cocinita’s menu and location, you can follow them on Facebook @MiCocinita2021.
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