Late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was a regular.
He became very familiar with the Hispanic culture through his wife Vanessa, who introduced him to authentic Mexican cuisine.
Employees and customers at El Camino Real, a Mexican restaurant in Fullerton, lamented the sudden death of Bryant, who was killed in a a helicopter crash in Calabasas on Sunday, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.
For nearly two decades, El Camino Real was one of the couple's favorite places to enjoy a carne asada tostada.
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The restaurant manager said this is the place where Bryant treated the employees as his friends and never denied a photo, greeting or autograph to anyone who asked.
“He always greeted us and if someone asked for a photo he never said no,” said Martha Castañeda, the owner's daughter. “He was always very kind. We are going to miss it."
The clients of the restaurant remember seeing him on several occasions and, although they knew who the NBA legend was, they only greeted him and let him eat without disturbing him.
“We would see him here frequently,” said Kelly Alesi, a frequent customer. “He would sit at the table and everyone knew who he was, but we didn’t bother him. We’d leave him alone and maybe that’s why he liked to come here. ”
Just as Kobe Bryant earned the respect and admiration of thousands of fans, those who worked with him closely point out that he always kept his feet grounded and demonstrated it with examples of humility.
“[It was] very simple. He always told us, 'Treat me like one more customer and not like a star. I want to be one more customer,'" manager Rodolfo García recalled.
NBCLA's Layla Abbas contributed to this report.