Society

Zaxby's Employee May Face Charges After Allegedly Mixing Soap Into Customer's Milkshake

| by Jared Keever
Bernadette HayesBernadette Hayes

A fast food restaurant employee in Florida has been fired and authorities are looking at possibly filing charges after a customer said she received a milkshake that tasted like soap, Jacksonville police say.

Bernadette Hayes stopped at a Zaxby’s location in the city Saturday night with her husband, according to WJXT News. After reportedly having some trouble placing an order at the drive-thru speaker, Hayes went inside to place her order.

She said two female employees were in the back of the restaurant, speaking loudly. She told the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office she thought they were talking about her.

According to a police report obtained by WJXT, Hayes received her order and tasted her milkshake on her way out of the restaurant and thought it tasted strange. She gave it to her husband to try and he said it “tasted like soap.”

The couple reportedly went back into the restaurant and spoke to two managers who offered them a refund but Hayes “stated she was furious and called the police," according to the report.

The police report indicates that managers at the restaurant believe that cleaning solution was poured into the milkshake. A female employee was fired that evening. 

The Sheriff’s Office and Zaxby’s are now investigating the incident, and the employee who was fired could face charges for poisoning food or water. 

Hayes said she is still upset. 

“I’m disgusted, she didn’t know who that shake was going to,” Hayes said. “That could’ve been a child that wouldn’t have known any better and would’ve just drank the entire thing and would’ve been really sick. I still have the taste in my mouth, I’m nauseous.

"I was very upset because I felt like you deliberately tried to poison us. That’s how I took it.”

Zaxby’s sent a statement to WJXT that read: “Food safety and exceptional guest service are always among our top priorities. This employee is no longer at that Zaxby's location, and we are fully cooperating with local law enforcement.”

News of the allegation comes just months after a New York man filed a lawsuit against a Chili’s restaurant in upstate New York. DNA analysis eventually confirmed that a restaurant employee had spit in the man’s to-go cup, ABC News reported in June. 

The employee was fired and eventually charged with disorderly conduct. He pleaded guilty in February and was sentenced to one-year conditional discharge. The man whose cup was spit into filed a lawsuit against the employee in June.

“The behavior of this former employee was an isolated incident and totally unacceptable,” a Chili’s representative wrote in a statemtn to ABC. “It should not overshadow the more than 100,000 Chili's team members taking great care of our guests every day.”

Sources: WJXT News, ABC News 

Photo credit: WJXT News, Hector Alejandro/Flickr