Yes, a paying customer should absolutely have the right to return food in a restaurant if there’s something off. But is it worth it?

Not if you ask Leticia Rivera.

She’s an Essex County woman who has filed a lawsuit against Taco Bell for what she says was a violent attack by three of their workers after she complained about her food.

The incident allegedly happened in May last year when she ordered a burrito at a Taco Bell on Broad Street in Newark. It tasted off, so she says she brought it back to the counter and asked if she could have two Taco Supremes instead.

Mexican food - delicious tacos with ground beef
Photo via GeorgeDolgikh

According to the lawsuit, an argument ensued when workers told her they didn’t have the ingredients to make that for her.

Rivera says there is security video showing what she claims happened next, that after arguing with the workers one came at her from behind the counter and physically attacked her.

According to the court filing, two other workers then joined in the beating.

“As a result of the attack, plaintiff, Leticia Rivera, suffered a fractured finger, laceration to her head requiring stitches, head and jaw pain as well as neck pain, back pain and pain in both knees,” the lawsuit says. 

All three workers are under 18 years old and were charged as juveniles. Rivera is 49.

This will play out in court where it should. But how sad is it that things like this could happen or cases of workers tampering with food occur just because a paying custom has the chutzpah to speak up if something seems wrong with their food?

You may remember the New Jersey story where a Starbucks employee was criminally charged for spitting in the drink of a law enforcement officer.

Photo via Aaron Savage, Townsquare Media
Photo via Aaron Savage, Townsquare Media

Kevin Trejo was charged with subjecting a law enforcement officer to contact with bodily fluid, knowingly tampering with a cup of coffee while knowing it was ordered by a law enforcement officer and creating a hazardous or physically dangerous condition.

These things happen. According to researchers from Baylor University and the University of Houston 6% of restaurant workers admit to tampering with customers’ food.

Think about this a moment.

This means if you have 17 people working at any given restaurant, one of them has done this.

It makes you wonder if it’s worth it to send food back. With so much tampering going on or workers that could vault counters and put a beatdown on a “Karen” customer, some will feel it’s better to take the loss.

It’s a shame, they just wanted the food they paid for.

Do better workers!

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