Here’s a two-hankie story about goodhearted Taco Bell employees

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Every year, the Steele family celebrates on March 14 with a Mexican Pizza and a Baja Blast at their local Taco Bell. But as we learned from this touching story in central Utah’s The Daily Herald, it’s not because of Pi Day. It’s to remember a lost loved one—and this year, their celebration got an assist from some goodhearted Taco Bell employees.

As a quick aside, stories about nice Taco Bell employees pop up with some frequency. Sometimes they even turn up inside terrible stories. What’s in the employee workbook over there? Who’s doing the hiring? We want to know.

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We won’t recount the story in full, because The Daily Herald’s piece is lovely and well worth a click, but here’s a rough outline: LaRell Steele’s husband, Kerry, died in 2013 at age 44. In the year that followed, his family decided that they’d honor his memory each year on his birthday by heading out together to enjoy one of his favorite meals, the pizza-Baja combo mentioned above. Per the Herald:

“The first year we just went as a family,” Steele said. The couple had four kids who were between the ages of 11 and 20 when their father died. “The next year more people came, and some family couldn’t come so they sent us pictures of them enjoying Taco Bell to remember him.”

This year, the family received photos of family and friends at Taco Bells around the country, and even in Canada. Nationwide posts were shared on Facebook from New York, Florida, Arizona, Maui, Idaho, Utah and California, among other places.

This year would have been Kerry Steele’s 50th birthday. On the morning of the 14th, LaRell Steele visited the Taco Bell at which they planned to celebrate to ask if it was possible to buy any Taco Bell merch for the party. She ended up telling the whole story to the staff, and specifically to Betsy Elias, a shift leader.

Then Elias did some good things. She went out and picked up a birthday cake, which she told the Herald that the Taco Bell staff purchased together. She brought on extra employees for the evening specifically to help the family—all people who volunteered to work extra hours. And she and the rest of the team “made the family members “honorary” Taco Bell staff members for the evening, and had Taco Bell hats for them to wear.”

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Here’s what Elias told the Herald: “That’s who we are, that’s what we do.”

It’s a very nice story. Give it a click.

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About the author

Allison Shoemaker

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves television, bourbon, and dramatically overanalyzing social interactions.