What Happens When you Lack Character?

By | October 31, 2019

[October 31, 2019]  A few days ago, the owners of Lloyd Taco Trucks in Buffalo, New York, apologized for serving food outside a federal detention center run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  Commercial businesses, small businesses in particular, often do not involve themselves in controversial political debates; else they alienate potential customers.  We can learn from what happened with Lloyd’s Taco Truck.  It’s a lesson in the lack of character.

The short story is that the taco truck’s owners came under intense social media scrutiny from immigration advocates who accused them of “discrimination.”  The owners promptly apologized and promised to do better for their “lapse in judgment.”  Their initial apology prompted another backlash on social media accusing the owners of discriminating against law enforcement.

There’s an appropriate saying by Lewis Carroll, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”  It should be, by now, obvious that the owners of the taco truck were not using their heads when they injected themselves into an ongoing political debate.  Our behaviors will always be judged – good and bad – by people.  If we lack the moral courage and honesty of our convictions, we will create unintentional problems for ourselves.

“Goodness is about character – integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.” – Dennis Prager, American talk show host

One of Lloyd’s owners, Pete Cimino, apologized at a news conference (see their Facebook Page here) and said their company is “not political,” that the original apology was “hasty,” and the company had reacted “too quickly” to the early criticism.  Yep, that’s what happens when you are not properly grounded in traditional ethical ways.

Values matter, and they matter a great deal.  If you are unwilling to stand up and be counted as a good member of your community and push through the naysayers, you will suffer.  Lloyds Taco Trucks suffered.  Next time, they may not get off so easily.  Some of those who commented said that the owners need to grow a moral backbone.  In related articles, I wrote a two-part series on “characteristics of weak leaders” (links here and here).


Halloween Note:  I wish to advise readers outside the United States that today is what we call Halloween.  It is a special day based on old, non-Christian traditions that include dressing up in odd ways and visiting our neighbors for candy at night.  “Trick or treat” is the common refrain.  Have a safe Halloween.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

19 thoughts on “What Happens When you Lack Character?

  1. Willie Shrumburger

    Live and learn but don’t do it out in public or you will run into a social brick wall like this Lloyd Taco Trucks in Buffalo, New York did when they apologized for being wrong. They knew it and just wanted the SJWs to like them. An impossible mission and their lack of moral courage showed.

    1. Darwin Lippe

      So very true. Thank you Willie for pointing out what most people can see. And, also thanks to General Satterfield for his blog on leadership and, more importantly, on what makes people tick.

  2. Jonathan B.

    Loved today’s article. I’ve been out of the country for a while down in central Africa. I’m back and happy to be here. I witnessed many people working for Non Profit Agencies that lacked basic characteristics of good people. Most of them were from California, New York, and parts of Europe (who claim to be helping out but there for their ego).

    1. Ed Berkmeister

      I Jonathan. Great to hear from you again and welcome back. I hope you did some good while there.

  3. Bryan Lee

    Personally I’m a New York Yankees fan but it is good to see the Nats win one every century or so (sarc).
    News flash, with all the dysfunction in DC these days, I am a bit surprised their team was able to do anything at all. Must have some great leaders.

    1. Yusaf from Texas

      It takes real leadership and talent to make that happen. I’d like to hear about how they made it happen (not the tactics but the behind-the-scenes stuff that makes a difference).

  4. Harry Donner

    The idea of character is a much studied subject ans it should be. I would hope that schools help parents and teach them the lessons of the ancients (those narratives that have survived) because what they wrote is full of great truths.

  5. Max Foster

    The whole ideology of progressivism and liberalism (is there a difference?) is to push the blame of your own failures onto someone else. It is not longer about the person but about the group. That is why they push group identity as a sort of welfare for the privileged. I find it interesting that groups are willing to use violent tactics to achieve what the US Constitution First Amendment was designed to do. Their failure to recognize our form of govt is a great shame upon our education system.

      1. Lynn Pitts

        I’d be careful about writing that. There are people who search the internet for folks who admit to having guns and they are willing to do them harm if they find them. Modern day fascists are among us and until we rid the country of them, they will hold power (thru the Democrat Party).

    1. Tracey Brockman

      Ever wonder why they are dissatisfied? I don’t. They lack the basics of old fashioned Christianity.

  6. Army Captain

    Great article. That is why the US military teaches its people about ‘character’ and what it is. Listen, learn, and apply those character traits. The struggle in in all three.

    1. Greg Heyman

      Good thing the U.S. military is teaching principles of personal character because no one else is doing it. Long ago, it was a time that our schools taught it and parents reinforced it. Now only the churches are left to teach character. Parents are actually against teaching their kids anything about ethics. Now that explains a lot.

      1. Doc Blackshear

        Good point, Greg. There are no societal institutions left that can be relied upon to teach the skills needed to be a good person; other than the military. All others, especially colleges, do the opposite. They teach us to be victims.

      2. JT Patterson

        Spot-on argument, Greg. I too believe this is a major reason we are having so many ‘snowflakes’ in college today.

  7. Jerry C. Jones

    We could write volumes on this topic. Every day I see those who walk around and exist but don’t live. They lack what it takes to be a good person.


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