Taco Bell worker dozing off draws attention to working rights in US

Sympathy for drive-thru employee amid viral footage of failed nacho fries and burrito order

Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 04 August 2021 20:09
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<p>A video shows a worker allegedly falling asleep </p>

A video shows a worker allegedly falling asleep

A video of a Taco Bell worker apparently falling asleep at a drive-thru has drawn further attention to the conditions of workers’ rights in the US.

In a video shared to TikTok by user Jacob Cohen on Tuesday, an employee at an unidentified Taco Bell appeared to have nodded-off and could not hear his order.

Mr Cohen, who later wrote in the comments to a follow-up TikTok that he had called a “non-emergency” number because he was worried for the Taco Bell worker, was heard calling out: “Hey are you guys open?”

The employee, who turned towards Mr Cohen and opened the drive-thru window, nodded when he asked for a second time “are you open?...so can we place an order?”

“Can I get an order of nacho fries, and then four beef burritos with extra meet, extra cheese?” Mr Cohen called out, continuing to film the worker. “Four beef burritos with extra meat, extra cheese?”

The TikTok ends with the employee appearing to fall asleep again. It was captioned: “taco bell nod till you drop”, and had hundreds of thousands of views by Wednesday.

Mr Cohen was accused by TikTok users of helping to “ruin this man’s life” by filming the incident, but he hit back by saying that he “called non emergency, we were worried he was going to pass out”, and that he waited for law enforcement to turn-up.

“I never got the nacho fries or the beef burrito,” he continued. “We waited for 15 minutes to get to the order box, and I sat there for 16 mins with him tell pd [the police department] arrived”.

Others called out Taco Bell and blamed US standards on workers’ rights, with one TikTok user arguing that they also “fell asleep at work before”.

“[I] don’t do drugs. I work two jobs and I’m in grad school,” they added. “Please don’t judge everyone”.

Taco Bell announced in April that it was hiring 2,000 workers throughout the US, and was introducing added benefits in an effort to lure new workers amid a loosening of Covid restrictions for both businesses and consumers.

Although millions of Americans were hit by unemployment during the pandemic, the return to work has been slow, with a record 9.2 million job openings and 9.5 million unemployed, according to the ADP National Employment Report on Wednesday.

Congress, meanwhile, failed to introduce a federally mandated $15 minimum wage earlier this year.

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