Ovation: Taco Bell Is Not A Food Tease.
My hometown was so small that we only had one traffic light. There were two supermarkets, one drug store, one clothing store and one hardware store. They were all located, more or less, “downtown” … the historic block of buildings built of dolomite from nearby quarries. We had several taverns and many churches but only a couple of restaurants, none of which served “fast food”. Eventually, in my teen years, McDonald’s came to town. Of course, my hometown “village” has since grown exponentially to include many traffic lights and almost a dozen fast food restaurants.
I understand the frustration that residents of Bethel, Alaska, must have felt when, after learning that the announcement of a new Taco Bell restaurant was actually a hoax. One of two feuding locals distributed flyers last month announcing the opening of a new Taco Bell and that included the other locals telephone number to call to ask about a job at the new restaurant. Since the closest fast food other than a Subway is in Anchorage, 400 miles and a $500 round-trip plane ticket away, residents of Bethel were extremely disappointed.
Until Taco Bell executives learned of the mix-up and arranged an enormous feast for the town. They flew in enough ingredients to make 10,000 Doritos Locos Tacos and offered food to the city’s residents at no charge. Folks enjoyed 950 pound of seasoned beef, 300 pounds of shredded lettuce, 150 pounds of cheddar cheese, 500 pounds of low-fat sour cream and 300 pounds of tomatoes.
“If we can feed people in Afghanistan and Iraq, we can feed people in Bethel,” company CEO Greg Creed said, declining to discuss the cost of the feast.
I remember how excited my friends and I were about the new McDonalds when it was built in my hometown. I think, more than anything, we were looking forward to the tiny ice cream cones that they used to serve with flaps of Ronald McDonald paper wrapped around the base of each cone. The new restaurant was “on the other side of town” and quite a long bicycle ride but it was still the most exciting thing to happen in our small town for quite some time.
Kudos to Taco Bell for putting some wind back into the sails of the folks in Bethel, Alaska.