A police officer in Indianapolis thought he was purchasing a normal cup of tea from a local McDonald’s, but as soon as he took a sip, he realized that what he grabbed wasn’t tea at all.
Reports say that Reserve Officer Paul Watkins stopped at a local McDonald’s to get a cup of self-serve iced tea. Watkins filled up half of his cup with unsweetened tea and went to fill up the rest with sweet tea when he noticed that it was darker than usual. After closer examination, however, he decided that it was probably ok.
Suddenly, after taking a big sip, Watkins realized that he wasn’t drinking tea.
“He filled his cup and took a big gulp and immediately his throat started burning down into his chest,” Jerilyn Watkins, Paul’s wife, told ABC News.
Watkins reportedly spit out the tea and immediately told employees what was happening. The manager apparently told Watkins that staff had put cleaning liquid into the dispenser but had forgotten to put a cup over the nozzle to let customers know not to use it.
When Watkins returned to his car, he immediately called wife Jerilyn to explain what had happened. The officer suddenly became violently ill and called both the police station and poison control. It was determined that the tea dispenser was filled with a strong degreasing agent, and Watkins quickly went to the hospital.
Watkins spent the night at a local hospital for testing and treatment and even underwent an endoscopy. The officer reportedly is still having serious problems swallowing and still feels burning in his throat, and now, he and his family are worried about the long-term effects that drinking the cleaning agent could have.
“My husband has never drank, never smoked, never done drugs,” Jerilyn explained. “This is just insane.”
Elizabeth Henry, owner of the McDonald’s in question, released a statement about the incident, saying: “Serving my customers safe, high quality food and beverages is a top priority at our restaurants. We take this claim very seriously and are looking into the matter.”
While Watkins hasn’t filed a lawsuit against the fast food restaurant, his lawyer says that he hopes they are able to settle something privately before it has to get to that point. Watkins’ lawyer also points out that when the officer first confronted the employees about what he had ingested, they offered him a fresh cup of tea. He reportedly declined that offer.