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This Ottawa Man Says He Went A Whole Year Without Tim Hortons After Swearing It Off

The mysterious William Golding says he hasn't had Timmies since last January.

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It was a New Year's resolution many Canadians would consider folly.

Chris Young / The Canadian Press

A little more than a year ago, an Ottawa man grabbed headlines when he penned an extravagant complaint to Tim Hortons executives in which he pledged to steer clear of the chain for the rest of 2015.

A year later, he claims he kept his bold promise by transforming into a java hipster of sorts, all while hiding behind a literary pseudonym.

"By the way, which character do you most identify with in Lord of the Flies?" the so-called William Golding, the name of the book's author, concluded in an email to BuzzFeed Canada.

It all began on Jan. 1, 2015, when Golding says a Tim Hortons denied him a breakfast sandwich after he'd stood in line for many excruciating minutes as people in cars got hasty drive-thru service.

Chris Young / The Canadian Press

The seemingly trivial transgression was one too many.

"For the longest time, I allowed small annoyances and a bit of cynicism about Tim Horton's marketing and product development to fall by my wayside, even as I admired your powerful execution across your 3500+ locations," he wrote in an email to chain executives and the Ottawa Citizen.

But he was tired being treated "like a second class customer" and vowed to steer clear of Timmies for one year.

Golding's story exploded on social media, as most stories about Tim Hortons in Canada do. Some people agreed with Golding's eloquent rant...

@projmgr I've come dangerously close to posting a nasty rant about the Tim's at Steeles & Mississauga Rd a few times myself.


...while others did not.

@LoopEmma @OttawaCitizen #TBH #WC

Tim Hortons, for its part, told the Citizen that staff take all complaints from customers seriously.

The mysterious Mr. Golding claims he hasn't had Timmies since.

In an email to BuzzFeed Canada, he said Tim Hortons offered him a meeting with one of their district managers at the time, but he felt "it would just be better to let the issue just go away."

He refused to provide a photo of himself and instead sent a picture of this dog at Meech Lake. "I would prefer to not uncloak myself," he wrote.


"It's mostly because there are other parts of my life — and things that I want to do later on this year (perhaps) that I would prefer to define me instead of being known as a guy who momentarily gave voice (through your medium) to the frustrations of thousands of other Canadians with our national pusher of coffee and donuts," he said.

In any case, he says he now gets his coffee from a nearby bakery, Bread and Roses, and orders his own beans from a local company called International Kafia.

His wit remains, though.

"In addition, after swearing off Tim Hortons I lost 20 pounds, developed washboard abs, joined Mensa, improved my lovemaking 110%, won the Stanley Cup, managed the Liberals election campaign (part time) and started listening to my wife much more than I ever had before," he wrote.

"In short, my life is way better today without Tim Hortons in it."

Emma Loop is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. PGP fingerprint: 4A39 DD99 953C 6CAF D68C 85CD C380 AB23 859B 0611.

Contact Emma Loop at

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