Taco Bell’s “Mexican Pizza” is the epitome of everything that’s both wrong and right about fast food. On the one hand, simultaneously insulting the food culture of both Mexico and Italy in a restaurant that’s distinctly and supremely American is a very special kind of achievement. On the other, stuffing two tortillas with minced beef and covering the lot with melted cheese and tomato is, obviously, delicious. This means that it occupies a pretty unique place in the foodieverse.
In fact, a recent incident has proved just how special some people think the dish really is. Police were summoned to a Taco Bell in Spartanburg, South Carolina, last week, when a man attempted to get into the kitchen of his local restaurant after being disappointed by the contents of his dinner. According to a slightly bemused police report, the man became enraged after declaring there was “not enough meat on his Mexican Pizza”.
According to law enforcement, the trouble started at the restaurant’s drive-thru counter. Angry over the status of his order, the mystery man proceeded to enter the main restaurant, walk up to the till and demand restitution. Employee Crystal Smith attempted to placate him by remaking his order, but he was still upset over the lack of protein. Despite his calls for a refund, Ms Smith informed the man that she was unable to authorise one without managerial approval. It was then that he decided to take matters into his own hands by leaping over the counter, heading into the kitchen and showing “employees how to make his food the appropriate way”.
Clearly, this drastic measure came as a shock to Smith and the other Taco Bell staffers. However, it did not take long for them to react and demand that the man remove himself from the kitchen. Police note that Ms Smith was particularly concerned that “the suspect did not follow proper health/safety guidelines,” and, “that he did not wear protective gloves while making his food.” Despite their protestations and his refusal to adhere to basic hygiene, the man finished making his own Mexican Pizza, before eventually leaving.
As obviously traumatising as it may be to have a stranger leap into your place of work unsolicited, staff can thank themselves lucky that the intrusion was relatively peaceful. Although the suspect repeatedly used “foul language” against employees, according to Ms Smith’s testimony, she also confirmed that “the suspect did not touch any items other than food,” and didn’t interact physically with any staff members. This is certainly a welcome turn of events, given that around 12% of fast food employees say they have been assaulted at some point, according to a survey published in February 2015.
If you’re particularly hungry, or just have a peculiar obsession with Latin American and Italian mashups, it’s easy to understand why improper food might make you upset. However, we would strongly advise against treating Taco Bell like your own kitchen. At the very least, it might land you on the embarrassing end of a police report.