The old waiter likes to keep the cafe open until late at night because it provides a refuge or safe haven for people against the nothingness and darkness of the outer world. It is quiet, without music, and customers can sit at a table, not have to stand at a bar. It is clean, well lit, and orderly; a cut above a bodega. As the older waiter puts it:
"Each night I am reluctant to close up because there may be some one who needs the café."
"Hombre, there are bodegas open all night long."
"You do not understand. This is a clean and pleasant café. It is well lighted. The light is very good and also, now, there are shadows of the leaves."
The old waiter shows he has empathy for others who are lonely. When the younger waiter says that the deaf old man who is preventing them from closing the cafe can drink at home, the old waiter says it is not the same to be at home. The younger waiter agrees but he has his own life to live, he wants to get to his wife, and he cannot relate to the deaf man drinking brandy by himself. The young waiter says:
"I'm sleepy now. I never get into bed before three o'clock. He should have killed himself last week."
But the old waiter has a deep well of humanity that understands the human need for a little warmth and light in a meaningless world.