Good Food + Bad Laws = Unlikely Hero

Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘N Waffles is a Los Angeles soul food restaurant and a staple of local cuisine since the 1970’s. The strange flavor combination along with its addictive recipe has gone unquestioned for decades, and has been immortalized by pop culture figures such as Quentin Tarantino, Ludacris, Will Smith, and Snoop Dogg.

Steve Williams, a 43 year-old resident of Duarte, CA is a huge fan of the mouth-watering chicken and waffles combo that only Roscoe’s can supply. On February 3rd, 2021 he headed over to Roscoe’s to grab his favorite meal on the way home from a hard day’s work. Like most blue collar folks in the city, he was tired and agitated from a long daily grind and the relentless gridlock of Los Angeles traffic.

“Finally!” he says as he parks his car in the Roscoe’s parking lot while trying to control his obvious enthusiasm for the holy grail of culinary guilty pleasures. As he enters and begins to order, a dutiful employee, citing local COVID restrictions, turned him away for not wearing a mask. Steve left the restaurant and returned a short moment later with a brandishing handgun. Williams looked steely-eyed at the cashier and said, “Put the chicken in the bag!” After the employee supplied Williams with his chicken, he grabbed two extra takeout orders that were sitting on the counter, politely apologized, then exited the location.

The police were soon called and reporters followed to capture this strange cultural anomaly in a weird mask-enforced society. One of the employees interviewed stated that Steve was “not interested in money at all. He was hungry.” The employee later recalled, “I understand we got some good chicken, but man!”

A Sign of the Times

At first glance, this can be written off as a tale of a hardened thug using violence to get his way. But if you look closer at the situation, that isn’t the case at all. It is a symptom of a society that had been holding its citizens captive for a year. By the date of this incident, public officials had been requiring their citizens to wear masks everywhere and only eat outdoors. Children were not permitted to go to school. Parents were forced to stay home from work to monitor their kids’ progress with their new online education curriculae. Colleges were charging full tuition for coercing students to study books and take quizzes without the benefit of professorial mentorship. So here we were. Moms couldn’t return to work because teachers refused to return to their own paid positions. Blue collar families were busting at the seams with no true light at the end of the tunnel. And, to top it all off, the average working man is humiliated and turned away if he walks into a fast food restaurant to bring home dinner without a silly piece of cloth strapped over his mouth.

We Are Steve Williams

During the same time frame, individuals such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor became national martyrs because they died for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were innocent victims of a system that was biased and broken. Historically, there have also been heroes chosen because of a particular act of bravery that was considered unorthodox at the time. On that December day in 1955, Rosa Parks’ refusal to leave her seat on the bus for a white person was an act of rebellion and, in turn, heroism that still echoes today. On April 3rd, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. appeared in Memphis, Tennessee in support of a local sanitation strike. His historical speech at the Masonic Temple, known as “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” was his last.

Steve Williams is a Cultural Icon that Los Angeles is trying to bury in its past for political reasons. I am Steve Williams. You are Steve Williams. We are all Steve Williams. This is because we are all fed up with government creating arbitrary rules for the minions to obey without leaders backing up those rules with data, or even their own actions. So let’s use the following hashtags to show that we’re fed up: #iamstevewilliams #putthechickeninthebag.

Now, I’m going to finish my coffee.




Stain on blog from Rob's coffee cup