Taco Time and the People of Crime

By Hailey Fox

Charter Features – 04/10/19

“I use many of my experiences as an employee at Taco Time and apply it to many of my health lessons I teach today. I think it has helped me present a more holistic approach to how I teach drug abuse and/or mental health,” write Drew Holland in an email. Drew Holland is one of ACAs teachers, he teaches health, some of our physical education courses, and science classes.

He worked a fast food job, during high school, at the Seaside chain of Taco Time, he claims it operated different than normal fast food restaurants.

“Unlike many other fast food restaurants, which pigeonhole an employee into a specific type of work, an employee at Taco Time was expected to perform all tasks. Within several months, I learned how to cook food, prep food, run the register, open the store, inventory stock, close the store, etc.“ writes Holland.Holland worked his first job at a Taco Time starting in his junior year of high school. For seven years he worked part-time during the school year and full-time in the summers.

Holland starts to describe how working at Taco Time has opened his eyes to real situations that only “movies, televisions, or books” has exposed him to. He then goes on to describe how he lived in a “middle class family, [that] was largely sheltered from the many adversaries in life that people faced.”

“The owner of Taco Time had a giving heart, and really wanted to give a ‘second chance’ to former criminals and addicts. I found his aspirations commendable but it did make for many precarious situations at the restaurant,” writes Holland.

Meth abuse was “rampant” on the Oregon Coast in the late 90s to early 2000s  which Holland explained in a email. “I worked with several people who were active meth users– and that included many employees who were actively bringing in meth to actively/use and sell at taco time. Initially, I was appalled at what I was witnessing, but ironically, over the course of seven years at taco time, I actually developed friendships with many of these people,” shares Holland, “When I look back on my years at taco time, it exposed me to the realities of life in a way that my family or school never prepared me for.”

”I feel like students are much better to work with than adults. Adults are very rigid in their thinking… Students are more open to learning and hearing what you have to say. That’s kind of what got me into teaching. I thought, ‘who do I want to work with?’ I’d rather work with students, young adults,” responded Holland when asked about how he became a teacher.

“There was a lot of illegal activity happening at the restaurant throughout the years I worked there…I had been taught all my life that drug abusers were bad people that should be avoided, but my whole perception of this notion changed after working at Taco Time. The vast majority of these people were good people who were struggling with a specific problem. In a way, this is true for everyone, their problem just happened to be with drugs,” concludes Holland.


Holland, Drew. Email Interview. Mar. 31, 2019

Holland, Drew. Personal Interview. Apr. 2, 2019