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Tacos and Tunes

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Virginia Cunningham/News-Sun

If you’ve went through the Taco Villa drive-thru recently, you may have been greeted with a song.

Danielle Wands, 50, of Hobbs, said one day she was bored with the regular drive-thru greeting so she decided to sing it instead.

“I sang it a few times, and was surprised at the response,” said Wands smiling. “People would pull up to the window and tell me that I made their day better. So, I’ve kept on singing because I like to make people happy.”

Liz Caress, of Hobbs, said Wands makes her feel happy and she thinks the singing greeting is great.

“She is one of the reasons I make Taco Villa my stop,” said Lajuan Hayes of Hobbs.

But things for Wands weren’t always happy. She said she moved to Hobbs nearly a year ago to “escape a 10 year-too-long abusive relationship” in which her abuser broke her jaw on her birthday.

Wands said she had enough and finally got the courage to leave him, move away and start over.

And, Hobbs has been a welcome place to start again.

“I like Hobbs. It’s not too big or too small, and the people here are amazing,” said Wands. “It’s a great place for me to get back on my feet.”

Wands said she is currently living in a battered women’s shelter as she saves up enough money to get a car and her own place to live.

“Right now, I ride a bike back and forth to work, but I’m thankful for my job and the awesome people I work with,” she said. “My manager and co-workers are so kind, and I just love working here.”

Despite what she has been through Wands is still smiling, singing and enjoying the ability to brighten someone else’s day with her voice.

“We love it when she is there,” said Hobbsan Tracy Kuykendall.

“I absolutely love her. She makes my day,” Laura Sanchez, of Hobbs, agreed.

Wands said people pull through to the window and want to know who was singing. She said most people have good things to say.

“One lady told me her day was going bad, but hearing my voice made it a little better. So that is why I continue to do it,” said Wands.

But Wands said she wasn’t always this open with her singing — even though she started singing at age 7. 

“I was a shy kid,” she said. “I joined choir in seventh grade, and singing with a group helped some.”

Wands said as she got older and solos were available in choir productions, her friends would have to talk her into trying out for those parts.

“I’m glad they pushed me, because they gave me the courage I needed to become less shy,” said Wands.

One way she combats her shyness is singing a greeting to customers, “Welcome to Taco Villa, what can I get for you.”

And the day of each customer gets a bit brighter.

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