While riding a crowded bus in a Southwestern city, Natalie and Jon notice a Latino couple holding an adorable baby. Natalie smiles at them and admires the child, saying, "Que chula" (how beautiful). Instead of looking pleased, the parents seem disturbed. They leave their seats, wend their way through the bus and hand the baby to Natalie, requesting that she touch him.
What went wrong?
In Spanish, the father told Natalie that unless she touched the child, her compliment might bring the evil eye to harm their baby. Natalie obliged. She later learned that some Latinos believe that praise arouses envy, making the child vulnerable to danger. If the admirer touches the youngster, the threat disappears.