Call 911! Nine Stories of Fast-Food Meltdowns

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If McDonald’s denied you nuggets, would you punch through the drive-through window? Or if your orange juice was missing from your order, would you call 911? Probably not, but some people would. These are their stories. And their meltdowns. 

1. The Chili-Sauce Shooting, Wendy’s 2007
In 2007, a man at a Wendy’s drive-thru window demanded ten packets of chili sauce, to which the employee responded that store policy was only to give out two. After the man’s persistent demands, the employee eventually complied and handed over the ten packets; by this point, however, the customer wanted more. When the manager of the store, Renal Frage, came out to talk to the demanding customer, the unidentified man shot Frage and drove off. On the way to the hospital, Frage kept “trying to [figure out] … why someone would shoot me over chili sauce.” We’re not really sure, either, but neither the assailant nor the ten chili packets were never found. 

2. The Case of the Missing Digit, Wendy’s 2005
For a few months, Wendy’s in San Jose, California, was under investigation due to Anna Ayala biting into a tip of a finger she found in her chili. She was apparently so “emotionally upset once she found out what it was … she was vomiting” said Joy Alexiou, a spokesperson for the Santa Clara County Health Department. Ayala then sued Wendy’s, cried to the media about the horror she found in her chili, and cost the restaurant millions in revenue, causing them to have several rounds of layoffs. The only twist of the story was that Ayala was the one who had placed the digit in her chili. This came out eight weeks later after every finger that could have been in that chili, from the initial suppliers to all of Wendy’s restaurant workers, had been accounted for. Ayala and her husband—the finger was from her husband’s colleague—are now in jail. 

3. McNugget Emergency! Call 911?, McDonald’s 2009
On February 28, 2009, Latreasa Goodman called 911, not for someone’s health being in danger, a house on fire, or a crime being committed, but because her local McDonald’s had run out of McNuggets. She had paid for a ten-piece order of Chicken McNuggets and was told that it was store policy not to give refunds, but they could exchange her order for something else on the menu; a Big Mac perhaps? While this is certainly an annoyance for Goodman, does it warrant an emergency call? Or three, in this case. When the 911 dispatcher didn’t respond the way Goodman wanted, she called again and then again, for a total of three times, until police arrived at the scene. Goodman was arrested for misuse of 911. 

4. The Disabled Debacle, McDonald’s 2009
This is the one where we really have to side with the customer. First, Margaret Todd, a sixty-nine-year old disabled woman, tried to enter her local New Zealand McDonald’s via the front door but couldn’t because it wasn’t wide enough to accommodate her mobile scooter. She then decided to go through the drive-through window, where she’d been served before, which we think was quiet a savvy reaction. She was then told she couldn’t be served for “health and safety reasons.” Huh? Todd, not backing down, pushed the manager to detail these health and safety reasons, to which the manager had no answer. Finally, the manager agreed to serve the woman if she waited away from the window, which is just unnecessarily rude. At the end of all this, however, Todd went to pay with eftpos, an Australian and New Zealand based payment system, but was told that this McDonald’s didn’t except eftpos. Todd was pretty furious, and rightly so if you ask us! This whole debacle started because the front doors to the McDonald’s weren’t wide enough to accommodate Todd’s handicap scooter. 

5. Sunshine or Jail Time? McDonalds 2009
In another case of 911 abuse, Raibin Raof Osman of Aloha, Oregon called 911 to report that orange juice was missing from his drive-through order. Osman’s younger brother had ordered the orange juice, and when the family returned home to enjoy their food, they discovered some of it was missing. Osman returned to the McDonald’s to ask for their missing food, where he was met with the response that there was nothing the employees could do. While, Osman had been right to ask for his missing food, asking a police officer to mediate the agreement isn’t exactly the best use of taxpayers’ money, now is it? Osman spent the night in jail. 

6. The McGriddle Throwdown, McDonald’s, 2009
A McGriddle consists of four key ingredients: egg, cheese, bacon, and two pancakes. So, when one of those four key ingredients is missing, you’re missing 25 percent of your meal and your next step should be to throw the hot, greasy sandwich into the face of the person who served it to you, right? Wrong. But one McDonald’s customer thought that was the correct coarse of action when the customer’s McGriddle was missing the egg ingredient and threw the meal into McDonald’s employee Patricia Munguia’s face. While Munguia declined medical attention after the hot food was thrown in her face, she was advised to call the police if the customer returned to assault her again with breakfast food. What if Munguia assaulted her with a Big Mac and fries? 

7. Burger 911, Burger King, 2005
Back in 2005, an unidentified woman called 911 because her Burger King burger order was not executed. This time, however, the dispatcher on the other end had a sense of humor about it and asked the disgruntled Orange County soccer mom what she needed protection from? “A wrong cheeseburger?” To which, the mom responded “No,” and eventually got off the phone before police had to be dispatched to arrest the woman as in the other 911 caller cases … but not before we got this jewel of a recording. Enjoy! 

8. The McNugget Nutcase, McDonalds, 2009
Apparently, Chicken McNuggets make people a little crazy. Twenty-four-year-old Melodi Dushane ordered Chicken McNuggets while going through the drive-through, to which staff responded that they were only serving breakfast during the morning hours. To this, Duschane went nuts. She reached into the drive-through window and punched the employee in the jaw and then started swinging at the manager who approached. Eventually, she also punched through the glass drive-through window. Duschane was taken to the local hospital to be treated for injuries and then sent directly to jail. She was ordered never to have contact with that McDonald’s location again. 

9. The McDonald’s Crasher, McDonalds 2010
Most of us don’t expect the highest quality food when visiting McDonald’s. However, one woman at the end of December 2009 did. When her hamburger wasn’t cooked to her liking, she demanded her money back refusing the employee’s offer to remake her burger. When she wasn’t given her money back, the unidentified woman went on a rampage. She poured water across the cashier desk, threw a sign over the counter, and pushed over a glass display case and three cash registers before she cursed and fled. The woman still hasn’t been identified. Do you know who she is? You might know her by her picky-eating habits. 

With all these examples of people going crazy over fast food, one has to wonder why these customers are losing it. Does constant consumption of the food loosen a few screws? Or does the very difference between what the food is advertised as being and the reality drive individuals to madness? 

By Jacky Hayward for Chef’s Blade


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