Redemption is a key theme in Christian fiction. By defintion, telling a redemption story involves having characters who have messed up in some way. That's really not too hard to do--after all, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The only difference from one person to another, from any of you to me, is where our individual transgressions have come. In crafting the background for the narrator, I decided that it needed to involve a criminal record, simply for dramatic purposes. As the story unfolded, he found a form of redemption by owning up to his past and using his experiences to prevent someone else from duplicating his mistake. After all, once Christ has saved us, He wants us to reach out to others, and sometimes our past mistakes cause us to better relate to others facing similar experiences.
As for the setting...if you've ever been to a Waffle House, Krystal, or any other 24-hour restaurant after midnight, you see a cross-section of people that is interesting to say the least. I figured that might be a setting where a character such as Gonzalez might enter in hopes of attracting minimal attention, although that didn't completely work out for him in the story.