Alissa Camplin, Arts & Entertainment Editor
It started as a joke on the internet.
It ended with dripping wax and songs about Baja Freezes.
A 24-hour Taco Bell caught fire in the early hours of Wednesday, Jan. 17. No one was injured and authorities have not determined the cause of the initial spark.
The closure of Taco Bell deeply affected current and former Montgomery residents, as evidenced by the candlelight vigil to mourn the great loss that went viral this week. More than a hundred people came to honor the mecca of delicious and cheap food.
“It just gave people something to talk about other than all the negativity that’s going on right now,” organizer Katie James said of the unconventional event.
The crowd, full of teens and adults alike, brought Taco Bell products and candles. The group was forced to go into the Arby’s parking lot after the Taco Bell lot was closed down.
A local comedian, Ashley Nicole Portis, performed a reprise of a Taco Bell parody video she released last year. Portis said that Taco Bell was an important instrument to
earning her degree from Alabama State University.
“I’ve had a lot of memories created at Taco Bell,” she said. “I was a theater major and we had long, long rehearsal nights. It was extremely taxing, and you don’t always have time to eat. You miss the cafeteria, it closes early. In Montgomery, everything else closes early.”
As the crowd began to tire out, some headed into the Arby’s for a late dinner. But that restaurant closes at midnight, as does a nearby McDonalds. With the loss of the Taco Bell, Montgomery’s late night options have dwindled to a precious few.
Shaw Gibbins posted on the event’s page on Facebook with this lovely poem of remembrance:
“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.”