A woman has retained counsel and is preparing to sue the Applebee's chain after discovering a severed fingertip in her salad last month. The expectant mother was eating at a Paso Robles location of the casual-dining chain with her husband and small child when she discovered the fingertip in her meal — only after she had started chowing down.
The restaurant management confirmed that the fingertip belonged to an employee, reports the San Luis Obispo Tribune, and a spokesperson called the detached digit making its way into an entree "unacceptable."
Cathleen Martin ordered the Oriental Chicken Salad on December 20th, perhaps hoping that the "[fresh] Asian greens tossed in a tasty Oriental vinaigrette and topped with crispy noodles, toasted almonds and golden fried chicken" would make for a healthy yet filling meal. She definitely got more than she bargained for.
“It was so gross,” Martin explained in a news release issued by the law firm representing her. “I’m on pins and needles worrying about what my family might have been exposed to.”
As Martin is pregnant, notes the Tribune, she is especially worried. This fear was not assuaged when nine days after the finger incident, Applebee's sent Martin a letter informing her that the company could not legally force the previous owner of the fingertip to undergo screening tests for disease.
Applebee's, for their part, issued a statement acknowledging that a human body part was found in the salad and detailed its response.
"[We] immediately investigated and determined that an accident did occur in our kitchen," notes the company's statement. "We discussed the matter with the Martins while still at our restaurant, shared our sincere apologies, and have continued to speak with Mrs. Martin in an effort to address her concerns."
As to her rather understandable concern about potentially eating part of another human? It seems like the Applebee's employee is prepared to do Martin a solid.
“[The] team member involved volunteered to undergo screening in an effort to provide the peace of mind Mrs. Martin seeks."
Eric Traut, the attorney representing Martin, told the Tribune that a "body part in a food item is typically very rare," before summing up what what we're all pretty much feeling.
“It makes your skin crawl.”
Mrs. Martin seeks damages for medical expenses relating to testing, lost income, and emotional distress.