Moral Low Ground


Arby’s Apologizes after Michigan Teen Finds Human Finger in Sandwich

A Michigan Arby’s has given a whole new meaning to “finger food.”

The mother of a Michigan teen who bit into a chunk of human finger in his Arby’s junior roast beef sanwich last week says the boy was left “traumatized” by the nauseating experience.

Michigan Live reports that the Atlanta-based Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. has apologized to 14-year-old Ryan Hart, who made the gruesome discovery while finishing off his sandwich at a Jackson Arby’s he visited with his mother, brother and a friend last Friday.

Jamie Vail, Hart’s mother, had driven Ryan and his 11-year-old brother to the Arby’s drive-through after school closed early for what was supposed to be a tasty treat. After purchasing roast beef sandwiches, Vail stopped in the restaurant’s parking lot to eat before driving her friend Joe Wheaton back to work.

Down to his final few bites, Hart said he bit into something tough that tasted like rubber. As he spit the chunk out, he knew right away what it was.

“I was like, ‘that’s got to be finger,'” he told the Jackson Citizen-Patriot at his Blackman Township home. “I was about to puke… It was just nasty.”

The severed piece of finger measured about an eighth to a quarter inch thick and around an inch long.

“It was unbelievable,” Vail said, “just gross.”

It is no mystery how the finger made its way into Hart’s sandwich. An employee at the restaurant had cut her finger on a meat slicer. According to Steve Hall, director of environmental health for the Jackson County Health Department, the worker is believed to have left her station to seek medical help without informing her coworkers about the accident. They continued filling orders and the human remains were expedited out the drive-through window.

“Somebody loses a finger, and you keep sending food out the window? I can’t believe that,” Vail told the Citizen-Patriot in disgust.

“They should have shut it down,” she added.

Although the Arby’s team halted food production and cleaned and sanitized the restaurant, they did not close the business.

Vail, who had to drive Wheaton back to work, could not confront the restaurant’s manager. Instead, she called 911 after she picked up her two daughters from school and met police at a local hospital.

Hart was subjected to blood tests and prescribed medication, but Vail said he did not want to take it out of fear of possible side effects. The teen says he feels fine but nervous.

“He hasn’t been able to sleep very good,” Vail said. “He’s really worried lately and he doesn’t want to catch anything.” She described her son’s condition as “traumatized.”

“He’s like, ‘you wouldn’t be able to sleep either if you ate a finger,'” she said.

Vail is reportedly in contact with an attorney, but she hasn’t yet decided what, if any, action to take against Arby’s.

“We don’t eat fast food no more,” she told the Citizen-Patriot. 

The Associated Press reports that Hart isn’t the first one to find a finger in his sandwich. A diner at a TGI Friday’s in Bloomington, Indiana found a severed piece of a worker’s finger in his burger in 2006.

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