[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.