In Defense of Taco Bell Workers
Imagine my surprise when I went to the Daily Mail yesterday: Taco Bell Manager in Dallas Hurls a Bucket of Boiling Water at Customers.
And immediately I felt bad for the Manager.
Come have a seat around the campfire kiddies, it's story time. Now I have mentioned this on numerous occasions, I used to be a Taco Bell Manager. I believe it was a Saturday morning back in the mid-90's, I turned on the news and the anchor said "stay tuned" a local manager stabbed a customer to death at a near West Side Taco Bell last night. My heart sank as the commercials rolled, I knew it had to be my Taco Bell. When programming returned, the news stated that the incident was at the Puritas Taco Bell, about 5 minutes away from my store, I turned off the TV and sighed a sign of relief. Satan was going to have to ruin my life in a different way on that day.
As I walked in the door of the Brookpark Taco Bell at 7 pm for my closing shift, the local stabbing was the topic of the night. According to the hood rats at my store, that hung out with the hood rats at the Puritas store, here's what happened. Two White Skanks, barely covered and obviously drunk, walked up to the drive thru window and tried to order food long after midnight, after the dining room was closed. The Black Female Manager told the customers, correctly, that there were no walk up orders allowed. The ladies swore at the manager, then wandered off to the Taco Bell driveway entrance. Once there, they kind of hiked up their skirts a little and attracted the attention of a few local fellows in their car. Again, second hand, the ladies were given a ride through the drive thru in exchange for---- (Hood rats gave multiple unverified sexual accounts.)
Once the group ordered, ladies swore at the employees, "ha ha, we got our food" and peppered their taunts with expletives. After the order was completed, the group parked for a few minutes, then the gentlemen left and dropped the ladies back off by the exit. One of the ladies went back to the drive thru and smeared her burrito across the window and screamed "you made this wrong." The manager had had enough. She walked back to the kitchen and grabbed a large cutting knife and walked out of the store and into the parking lot. She screamed at the drunks, "get off our property!' Instead of leaving, the troublemaking two jumped the manager and in the melee, the manager stabbed one of the girls right through the heart, killing her almost instantly. The crew had called the cops when the manager left the kitchen and they supposedly saw the girl, who didn't get stabbed, running down the street screaming. The police arrived at Taco Bell with a crying manager in the parking lot and a dead girl laying in the front lawn.
"What a horrible story," I thought to myself. Even if I wanted to forget it, I couldn't. Every 10 to 15 minutes someone came in and either said "is this the store where the girl got stabbed?"
Or someone would come in and say "why is the Puritas Taco Bell closed?" Sometimes we played dumb, sometimes we told the truth, depending on how hard the customer would push.
By the end of the shift, we had had enough, we just wanted to go home. About 10 minutes before closing time, I was making food, "Todd" was working the drive through register, and a third employee was washing dishes. Both Todd and I were wearing headsets. Two drunk men drove up to the speaker and screamed "we'd like some tacos please don't stab us" and started giggling. Todd responded, "if you don't hurry up and order, we're going to close." The guys continued to joke "yeah, how about a hundred tacos?" As they continued snickering. Todd said again, "we need your real order, we are about to close." I began motioning with my hands for the customers to hurry up. The two drunks then proceeded with their real order and pulled up the drive thru. When they paid, they continued to egg on Todd, "hey please don't stab us." Todd walked away from the drive thru and into the kitchen. I bagged up their food and put it by the register, then went to see where Todd had gone. "C'mon Todd, I want to go home." He went to the window, gave the customers their order, then pulled the largest cutting knife we had from his pants, "maybe I will stab you tonight," and he took a hard swipe at the customer in the driver's seat, missing him by about 4 inches. The customers screamed like teenage school girls and I jumped on Todd's back and grabbed his arm. As the customers sped away, I could feel Todd laughing hysterically from underneath me.
As I briefly contemplated what poor life decisions I had made right up to that point, Todd piped up "Fred, I wasn't really stabbing at them, I was just scaring them. They're drunk, what are they gonna do? Call the cops and say 'we were drunk driving when a Taco Bell employee tried to stab us?' Nothing is going to happen. We immediately shut down the store and turned off all the lights, I was freaked out. When I told Tom, the employee in the back of the kitchen, what happened, he said, "Fred, you've got to fire Todd, he crossed the line." I replied "okay, if I fire Todd, next Saturday it's just going to be you and me closing." Tom, who was Todd's friend outside of work, thought for a second and then said "Fred, you can't fire Todd." The 3 of us then frantically, and half assedly, cleaned the store and got the f#ck outta dodge.
The next day, I reviewed the tape and the video showed no proof of anything. Todd was right, those drunks never complained to anyone.
Now, back to the store on Puritas. The poor manager claimed self defense and the cops said "no, no, no." That manger was a single Mom with a small child at home and, I believe, she was charged with manslaughter. I wanted to start a fund FOR THE MANAGER, and was given a cease and desist order from the corporate muckety-mucks NOT to raise money for her. As a matter of fact, we weren't to speak of the incident at all, if the media stopped by (which they didn't), we would have had to direct all questions to a generic corporate number. I tried to find remnants of the case on the internet, but this is the closest thing I could find: I think this is the case behind a pay wall.
The Puritas Taco Bell stayed closed for a few days then reopened. Most of the night crew quit shortly thereafter and the store never recovered financially. I couldn't find verification of the exact closing date, but I am confident it has been well over a decade ago.
I always wondered what happened to that Puritas Manager. I said a prayer for her when I wrote this article, wherever she may be.
Now back to the Hot Water Manager in Dallas. These things don't happen in a vacuum. The Daily Mail is reacting to the allegations in the lawsuit, they are not doing an investigative report.
Red Flag #1 - 2 People ordering $30 worth of food is suspicious. You may counter that they were ordering for their "friends" too. Let me ask you this, if you order food for a friend, do you unwrap their order and touch your friends' food to see if it's made right? No you don't. I order for my kids all the time, I count the items, but I don't unwrap their food and touch it with my hands.
Red Flag #2 - Taco Bell remade their food 3 times? Uh, that's $90 worth of food.
Red Flag #3 - The customers claim the employees locked them in the dining room? No employees lock disgruntled customers in the dining room with them. NO EMPLOYEES.
What probably happened is an inexperienced employee probably let them in, not knowing the ramifications of letting customers in a closed dining room. Of course the plaintiffs can't admit that. If they were "locked in" how did they manage to escape so easily soaking wet? Almost all new Taco Bells have doors where you can exit, but not enter.
Red Flag #4 - When the manager threw the hot water on the customers, they weren't at the counter, they were in the kitchen. Watch the video closely. I told my crew in Brookpark to call the cops in case of emergency and retreat to the kitchen. I also told my crew if a customer came across the counter they could defend themselves. The customers clearly crossed the threshold of the counter.
Red Flag #5 - If the crew was randomly attacking innocent customers, I guarantee you that Taco Bell would have fired all involved by now. The fact that the Franchisee hasn't fired everyone employed that night points to another side of the story. Remember, there is no union protecting these employees-
To Be Continued....