When Sarah Douglas stopped in a Lethbridge, Alberta, McDonald’s Sunday morning for a latte, she got more than she bargained for.
Douglas, who is seven months pregnant with her third child, became at least the second McDonald’s customer in Alberta to end up being served cleaning solution instead of what she ordered.
Douglas knew at the first sip something was wrong.
“I immediately had to put my hazard lights on and pull over and spit it out and rinse my mouth out with … water,” Douglas said, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported. “I opened up the lid of the coffee and out pours this pungent smell of chemical. It wasn’t a latte at all.”
She sped back to McDonald’s to have it out with a supervisor.
“I showed him the coffee and he had asked if I wanted a new one, and I said, ‘Absolutely not, this is unacceptable.’ I said I need to speak to someone higher up and he said he was the only supervisor on at the time, and he gave me his manager’s phone number,” she said.
Douglas said staff at the restaurant showed her what she had been drinking, according to Lethbridge News Now.
“The supervisor went and got the bottle that was hooked up to it and brought it over to the counter, and I took a picture of it, so I knew what I was working with — what I had consumed so I could talk to 811 and poison control. So, I took a picture of it and then another co-worker of his had also overheard what had been going on, and was a little bit upset at the situation and said that this had happened before. And she was a little mad that it was occurring again,” Douglas said.
Douglas put in a call to Alberta authorities, and also went to see a doctor, who said she suffered no harm — most likely, she said, because she never swallowed any of the drink.
Dan Brown, who owns the McDonald’s franchise, later issued an apology.
“What happened is that the machine was being cleaned as it is every morning. Unfortunately, the milk supply line was connected to the cleaning solution while this guest’s drink was made,” Brown said in a statement.
“We have taken immediate action to review the proper cleaning procedures with the team and have put additional signage up as an added reminder,” the statement added.
Douglas said she shared her story to prevent others from going through what she did.
Sarah Douglas says she's happy she shared her story & overwhelmed by the response. The 32-week pregnant woman was served cleaning solution instead of a latte at a #yql McDonalds. Our @CTVZayn spoke with her to find out what's happened since her experience went viral tonight at 5. pic.twitter.com/b9ceujGXja
— CTV Lethbridge (@CTVLethbridge) August 1, 2018
“As a mother, I want to make sure I have a voice and that I’m being heard in terms of the safety of consumers, and how negligence can affect people in such a drastic way,” she said, according to the Globe and Mail.
In fact, she was not the first person in Alberta to get cleaning solution instead of a latte, CBC reported.
Cory Irwin of Red Deer, Alberta, had a similar experience at his McDonald’s there in December.
“I took a sip of it and realized right away that it wasn’t coffee, that there was a chemical,” Irwin said. “Sort of caustic because I could feel my tongue going a bit numb.”
McDonald’s Canada admitted there have been other cases.
“The health and safety of every guest is McDonald’s and our franchisees’ absolute priority. We are aware that there are other isolated incidents of this nature. Even one incident is too many,” McDonald’s Canada spokesperson Laura Munzar said in an emailed statement.
“While the specialty coffee machines and usage procedures are of the highest industry standards, we are immediately (reinforcing) proper cleaning procedures with all McDonald’s restaurants.”
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