El Tajin taco truck owner, Thomas Lopez, was ready to get to his lunch time stops in the Seattle, Washington area as usual on Monday, February 28, 2017. To make his appointed rounds he had to be on the I-5 freeway in the morning.
The accident involved the turnover of a semi-truck carrying propane. The large vehicle blocked traffic on the southbound lane of the I-5. In clearing the truck from the roadway, authorities had to consider the possibility of added problems from a possible dangerous chemical spill.
The long delay stuck in traffic meant that Thomas Lopez wouldn't be able to make his regular lunch stops that day. Usually, he had people lined up to enjoy authentic Mexican foods from his bright green colored El Tajin food truck.
Lopez decided to open up for business right there, in the bumper-to-bumper traffic jam. It was simply a matter of lifting up the panel to reveal the takeout windows and fire up the grill. It didn't take long for people to start getting out of their cars and head over to buy his food.
With nothing else to do but stay put inside their cars waiting hours for the highway to reopen, (through both the lunch and dinner hours) the El Tajin taco truck must have been a welcome sight to many hungry drivers and their passengers stuck on the I-5 that day. I
The allure of tacos and other Mexican foods for sale at the traffic jam soon spread even to those stranded drivers who were nowhere near the El Tajin truck. People were noticing others carrying takeout cartoons of food to their vehicles. This was the case for 33-year-old bus driver, Rachel McQuade, who saw someone walking by her car with takeout food. That prompted her to find the source.
McQuade soon returned to her vehicle with El Tajin food for herself and her husband. She had purchased two steak tacos and two chicken tacos. Just like camping food always seems to taste amazing, it seems that traffic jam eats are also be a very welcome treat, especially when you're stuck on a freeway for eight hours!
With the traffic gridlock lasting from about 10am to around 8pm that Monday, there's a good chance many of the lanes of stranded drivers and passengers were hungry. By opening his food truck door, literally, Lopez created a win-win situation by providing much needed food while also making up for his own income loss that day due to the unexpected road closure.
It's sad but true that some food truck drivers might not have taken the opportunity like Lopez did with his El Tajin truck. They may have just sat in the gridlocked traffic waiting for the road to reopen like everyone else. This is a good example of using out of the box thinking, or out of the truck thinking in this case.