After countless marathon gaming sessions interrupted only by alternating runs to "the border" for cheap Mexican food and the bathroom, I can't let the passing of Taco Bell founder Glen W. Bell Jr. go unnoticed by our readers.
Many gamers, myself included, consider tacos to be the ultimate food. Indeed, if it weren't for the complicated preparation involved with creating said tacos - cutting vegetables, browning meat, adding in that little packet of powder, and ultimately getting frustrated by broken shells, instead crafting a makeshift taco salad - I'd daresay I would eat tacos every day.
Luckily for me and countless gaming compatriots, Glen W. Bell Jr. had a dream.
Or maybe he just wanted to make a lot of money, and tacos were one of the ways to do it. I'd prefer to imagine it was a dream of some sort. Maybe an ancient prophecy.
Bell started his first fast food restaurant in 1948. After noting the success of McDonald's, he opened up Bell's Drive-In in San Bernardino, California. Initially serving burgers and fries, Bell soon had the brilliant idea to expand to Mexican food. After perfecting his taco recipe and developing questionably convenient packaging for the handling of said tacos while driving, Bell introduced Mexican fast food to a hungry America.
After launching a chain called El Taco in 1958, Glen went on to create the Der Wienerschnitzel hot dog franchise in 1961, finally opening the first Taco Bell a year later. The first franchise sold in 1964, and the business grew steadily until 1978, when Bell sold his 868 stores to Pepsi, which is one of the reasons we can get giant, gallon-sized jugs of Mountain Dew there today.
Glen W. Bell Jr. passed away in his home in Rancho Santa Fe, California on Saturday evening. He was 86-years-old. In a statement published on the restaurant's website, Taco Bell says farewell to this great man.
"The entire Taco Bell family of franchisees and employees are deeply saddened by the loss of the founder of Taco Bell. Glen Bell was a visionary and innovator in the restaurant industry, as well as a dedicated family man," said Greg Creed, president and chief concept officer of Taco Bell. "His innovative business acumen started out of humble beginnings and created one of the nation's largest restaurant chains in Taco Bell. Mr. Bell introduced an entire nation to the taco and Mexican cuisine."
For me at least, no single fast food chain resonated with me as a gamer than Taco Bell. To this day, a cursory examination of my gaming space will often reveal the odd Taco Bell wrapper, plastic bag, or half-empty drink cup. Some would call me a slob. Others would call me borderline obsessive. Me? I just find great comfort in knowing that I can pause whatever I am playing and be back in fifteen minutes with a bag of pseudo-Mexican cuisine.
So I salute Glen W. Bell Jr., the man who made it all possible. I wish his family well in this trying time, and will remember him fondly whenever I use a paperclip to clean the taco grease out from the seams of my Xbox 360 controller.