In 2009, Todd Mills wrote a letter to Frito-Lay suggesting it start marketing Doritos-flavored taco shells. Frito-Lay turned him down, but Mills, undaunted, launched a Facebook page, “Taco Shells made from Doritos Movement”, featuring images he photoshopped himself, of “Game of Tacos,” “The Hungry Games,” and Dr. Seuss’s the Lorax saying “I speak for the Cheese.” Nothing, apparently, was too cheesy for this guy.
Then, in 2012, as Taco Bell was developing the Doritos Locos Taco, it reached out to Mills, whose Facebook page had over 4,000 Likes. They flew him to the Taco Bell test kitchen in California, where he was among the first members of the public to taste the new product that has now topped $1 billion in sales.
On Thanksgiving Day, Mills, 41, succumbed to brain cancer. He was the vice president of media and information technology at the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, and a father of two daughters who loved to make taco salads featuring crunchy Doritos.
While Taco Bell donated $1,000 to help defray his family’s medical expenses, executives didn’t officially credit Mills for his idea. His friends are raising taco shells in his memory, posting pictures of themselves eating Doritos Locos Tacos to Facebook in his honor.