One angry couple is planning to sue the restaurant chain Chili’s after they discovered their annoyed waiter had spit in their to-go drink.
It all started last July when Ken Yerdon and Julie Aluzzo-Yerdon went to enjoy their weekly dinner at an upstate New York Chili’s. That night, they were less than satisfied with their meal — they complained to their waiter, Gregory Lamica, 24, that their broccoli was undercooked and that they hadn’t received their chips. Lamica allegedly became annoyed with the couple.
“They were busy — we understood. We were patient with him, but we could tell he was annoyed with us. All Ken said to him was, ‘Are you OK? Have we done something to offend you?’ And he said, ‘Oh, no, no.’ ”
As they were getting ready to leave the restaurant after dinner, the couple told Lamica they would like a drink refill in to-go cups. Lamica then brought them two to-go cups, expecting the couple to pour their drinks themselves. Since their drinks on the table were almost empty, the couple restated that they wanted refills, and an annoyed Lamica took the to-go cups to the back of the restaurant.
With refills in hand, the Yerdons left the restaurant, but they had noticed that Lamica would not make eye-contact with them, the police report stated.
Yerdon took two sips from his drink while driving home when the lid popped off and he noticed the foreign substance.
“I saw the spit in the cup. It wasn’t regular spit either. It was definitely a loogie.”
Yerdon took a picture of his drink, dropped his wife off at home, and went back to Chili’s.
The managers apologized to Yerdon, gave him a couple of coupons and a refund for his meal, but they wouldn’t admit that anyone at Chili’s was responsible. Lamica, who Yerdon was denied from talking to, was sitting in an office while this was happening.
Coupons and a refund weren’t enough for Yerdon. He wanted Lamica to be fired. Aluzzo-Yerdon explained:
“We just felt like he needed to be terminated immediately … To do something like that was so vile and beyond the pale. We couldn’t believe it.”
As Yerdon left the restaurant for the second time that night, he caught Lamica in the parking lot. Yerdon approached Lamica, who was crying:
“I said, ‘Why did you spit in my drink?’ He was bawling. He just kept walking with his apron in his hand and he didn’t answer me. I said to him, ‘You wouldn’t be crying if you didn’t spit in my drink.’ He said, ‘I don’t want to lose my job.’ “
The Yerdons eventually called the state police. An investigator questioned Lamica, who denied spitting in their drink but agreed to let the investigator take a swab of saliva.
Three months later, the DNA results from Lamica and the loogie soda showed that Lamica had indeed hocked a loogie in Yerdon’s drink. When police brought him in for questioning a second time, he denied spitting in the drink again, but confessed when confronted with the DNA evidence.
In February, Lamica was charged with disorderly conduct, plead guilty, and was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge and a $125 fine. He was also fired from Chili’s, three months after the incident.
However, the Yerdons still aren’t happy. They now plan to sue Lamica
, the owner of the New York Chili’s and Chili’s parent company Brinker International over negligence and retention of an incompetent employee. The Yerdons are reportedly seeking compensation for the psychological trauma they experienced from not knowing if Lamica had HIV or hepatitis, even though Yerdon tested negative for HIV and hepatitis immediately after the incident and six months later.
Lesson: Don’t loogie in people’s drinks because CSI will catch you — at least have someone else do it.