Taco Bell Fires 64 Year Old Grandmother Who Once Took A Bullet In A Robbery

Winnie Shilson has worked for Taco Bell for 30 years. She has been robbed at gun point twice, and 9 years ago she took a bullet in the leg when a robber started shooting the Taco Bell’s safe. Winnie was fired recently, after two negative performance reviews. She’s convinced that Taco Bell wanted to rid themselves of her $45,000 a year salary.

“I bawled for three days after I got fired,” she says. “I was the most loyal, dedicated employee they could have. In 30 years, I never called in sick or was late to work. Not once! And I was good at my job. Damn good.”

Shilson started at the Zantigo on W. 7th Street in St. Paul in 1977 (Taco Bell later bought Zantigo). Her pay was $2.85 an hour, not enough to make her husband, a truck driver (now retired), think that it was worth the inconvenience of having his wife, and mother of their four kids, take a job.

“He wouldn’t even look at my paycheck the first two years,” she says. “Then one day, I said, ‘We need a new clothes washer’ and he said, ‘We can’t afford one.’ That’s when I said, ‘Well, I can!’ That changed his mind.”

Shilson rose rapidly, working 60-hour weeks and becoming general manager at the W. 7th Street store and, later, at the Richfield Taco Bell. She was robbed at gunpoint twice, including the time she was shot while opening the W. 7th restaurant one morning in 1998.

Winnie is currently looking for a job because she needs health insurance, and says she would have accepted a demotion to keep her job. Does the Curiously Australian President of Taco Bell, Greg Creed know about this?

Nick Coleman: After 30 years, Taco Bell didn’t even offer her any hot sauce [StarTribune]