Words by Levi Agee
A lot of people will remember him as the inspiration for the Doritos Tacos, but I remember Todd Mills as the one of the most positive and friendliest people I’ve ever met. I can’t say that I knew Todd as well as his family and close friends but we’ve known each other for almost four years after he gave his services as a graphic designer to help us design and create one of our massive programs for the film festival. This is no easy task and due to the ever-changing nature of the festival, last-minute details about films and schedule changes for nearly 100 films can make anyone crack under pressure, but he delivered and I was immediately blown away by his attention to detail and craftsmanship in such little time. As someone who dabbles in graphic design and works full time as a motion graphics animator I felt a kinship with Todd and working in a building across the street from the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce afforded me plenty of face time with him standing at the corner of President Clinton Ave. or in the Rivermarket after picking up a chicken club at Coast Cafe. Usually it was handshakes or fist-bumps but many times I just had to stop and talk and catch up with Todd about his family or work because his charisma and personality just drew me in.
I knew Todd was sick because of his Facebook updates but it never really hit home with me until I learned of his passing on Thanksgiving because his outlook was always so upbeat and positive. I can’t fathom to know what he or his family really went through thanks to a status update once and a while but his updates on his condition made me feel like part of the family—like I was sitting in the hospital room with him and getting all his news about surgeries and how his head was feeling.
Despite my sadness about his passing it was life affirming seeing all the posts from friends and relatives and even strangers posting on his account stories recollected over the years spent with Todd. There were also lots of pictures posted of people eating the Doritos Locos Tacos that Todd helped inspire. Maybe that will be a part of his legacy to some, but to me he will always be the guy that made me want to stop rushing from lunch to work and have a real conversation with someone. So now I think I’ll do less fist-bumps and “good to see ya’s” with people I run into and just stop and chat.