At least it wasn't a finger.
Nearly two years after a woman in a California Wendy's restaurant claimed to have found a human finger in her chili — and a year after she and her husband went to prison for fabricating the claim in an effort to get money out of the fast-food chain — a local Wendy's is at the center of a controversy over the supposed presence of human blood at the bottom of a milkshake.
How's your appetite, at this point?
Nashvillian William Hoover filed suit in Davidson County Circuit Court last week against Bridgeman Foods, one of the largest Wendy's franchisees in the U.S., which operates the Wendy's at 719 Thompson Lane. It was there, on January 24, 2006, that Hoover had what might be termed a bloodcurdling experience, according to his complaint, a copy of which is available at this link.
The meal Hoover ordered included a Frosty, the chain's version of the time-honored milkshake. But according to Hoover, this one came with a special, "Soylent Green"-like additive. "After consuming most of the Frosty, Hoover noticed a red substance on the end of the straw," the lawsuit asserts. That substance, it says, "was tested and was revealed to be human blood."
After the meal, Hoover went to the doctor to find out whether "consumption of bio-hazardous human blood had transmitted any communicable disease."
Hoover seeks legal redress for "mental anguish and painful medical procedures" that resulted in "pain and suffering" as well as "grief and medical costs."
According to the corporate website of Wendy's International, the company serves about 300 million Frosties a year. The site describes the dessert as "a cross between a milkshake and soft-serve ice cream" made of "fresh milk, cream, sugar, cocoa and other ingredients" that are "combined at nine different dairy facilities throughout the U.S., following Wendy's strict specifications" and then shipped to Wendy's locations.
Bridgeman Foods, whose operations are divided between Milwaukee and Louisville, operates 160 Wendy's units in five states. The chain's CEO is Junior Bridgeman, a former star with the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association. When reached Monday afternoon, he was familiar with the Hoover incident.
"He complained to us way back when," Bridgeman recalled. "We did do an investigation. We talked to all the employees to see if anybody had a cut or anything, and no one did. That was pretty much all we could do at the time." Bridgeman said that at present, "we don't have anything to substantiate that anything came from us" to contaminate the milkshake.
Madison attorney Harry Miller, representing Hoover, was unavailable on Monday to discuss the case.