The man responsible for bringing you the Doritos Locos Tacos was a man who just wanted the world to enjoy a cheesy, crunchy taco shell and on Dec. 3, USA Today reported that he lost his battle with cancer at age 41 on Thanksgiving Day.
While a life ending in cancer is always sad, it's the way Todd Mills lived his life that makes this even more upsetting. Mills, the vice president of a media and information technology company, just wanted to see his idea come to life and hasn't made a cent of the wildly popular creation.
Mills began pitching Frito-Lay in 2009 about creating a taco made out of Doritos. His wife, Ginger Mills, said they declined the idea. But Mills continued onward and created the "Taco Shells from Doritos Movement" Facebook page. Mills would then post edited photographs featuring his cheesy creation. One such image features Yoda holding a lightsaber and wielding a cheesy taco shell.
Though silly, it was through these images that Mills' idea was finally heard. Taco Bell commented on one of his images. In 2012, Taco Bell then contacted him. They offered to fly him out to their test kitchen to try his product, which they had begun to develop.
A statement from Taco Bell said that they considered Mills a friend of the company and the company's CEO even donated $1,000 to Mills' cancer treatment after being contacted by a friend of the Mills family.
According to Syracuse.com, Yum! Brands, the owner of Taco Bell, considered the Doritos Locos Tacos to be one of their most successful products and the various flavors have made more than $1 billion for the company this year.
A Facebook page has been set up called “Tacos for Todd” with the intent of trying to have Frito-Lay and Taco Bell designate a day where proceeds will go toward the Mills family’s medical expenses.
Updated: A spokesperson on behalf of Taco Bell issued the following statement via email:
“We know this is a tragic time for Todd’s family. He was a huge Taco Bell fan. He was passionate about the Doritos Locos Taco, and although he did not invent it, he founded a Facebook page to drum up support. In light of his passion, we invited him to be one of the first to try it. He became a true friend of the brand, so when we learned of his ill health, we made a $1,000 donation towards his medical expenses. We will miss Todd very much and our hearts are with his family and friends in this difficult time.”