Picture this: A group of young locals standing around a blazing building as they mourn the death of an era. They offer heartfelt tributes of times gone by, attempting to hold onto nostalgia’s whimsical embrace for just a moment longer.
Well, in Montgomery, Alabama last week that was in fact the scene that played out. The funeral, however, was regarding the death of their local Taco Bell.
A Facebook event proposing a candlelit vigil for the 24-hour restaurant’s death started as a joke. But then the gag went viral and soon many were actually committing to attending the event, generating plans and activities around it.
The crowd, many in their teens and early 20s, brought Taco Bell products and candles, milling about the parking lot of the adjacent Arby’s after event organizers found the Taco Bell lot was closed off.
It ended with dripping candle wax and a box of tacos tossed from the bed of a pickup truck, yards away from the charred and partially collapsed remains of a 24-hour Taco Bell restaurant.
The event’s organizer described the gathering as a break from all the “negativity” going around right now while a local comedian reprised a parody Taco Bell ad she’d previously performed.
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But it was perhaps a local Facebook user who summed up how the Taco Bell’s departure would affect the community when he wrote, “When my wife (then girlfriend) lived in Auburn and I lived in Birmingham, you were my light in the darkness on the road at 2 a.m. when all the other restaurants were closed. When McDonalds failed me, you lifted me up. When Sonic was closed, you filled my cup. When Arby’s went dark, you made me smile. Your quesadillas sustained me mile after mile.”
The Taco Bell will be sorely missed.