'It was just nasty,' says 14-year-old boy who found finger piece in sandwich from Jackson, Michigan Arby's
Danielle Salisbury | Danielle_Salisbury@mlive.com
Ryan Hart, 14, on Friday found a piece of finger in his junior roast beef sandwich at Arby's on N. West Ave. in Jackson, Mich.
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JACKSON, MI -- When her son exclaimed he found a piece of a finger in his Arby’s junior roast beef sandwich last week, Jamie Vail thought the 14-year-old was goofing around.
In his last bites, Ryan Hart said he tasted something like rubber. It was tough to chew, and he said he spit the piece of flesh from his mouth.
“I was like, ‘that gots to be a finger,’” he said Wednesday evening from his Blackman Township home.
“I was about to puke... It was just nasty."
The piece appeared to be the back of a finger, including the pad and extending beyond the first knuckle, said Vail and her friend, Joe Wheaton, who accompanied Vail and Ryan on Friday to Arby’s on N. West Avenue. Vail and Wheaton estimated the portion was about an eighth to a quarter inch thick and maybe an inch or more long.
“It was unbelievable,” Vail said and called the discovery disgusting, “just gross," and worrisome.
An employee had cut her finger on a meat slicer in the restaurant at 952 N. West Ave., Jackson police and the Jackson County Health Department reported.
Steve Hall, environmental health director for the Jackson County Health Department, said he believed she left her station and other workers were filling an order or orders before they became aware of what happened.
“Somebody loses a finger, and you keep sending food out the window? I can’t believe that,” Vail said.
The business was packed, she said. "They should have shut it down."
Upon learning of the “isolated and unfortunate accident,” the franchisee’s restaurant team stopped food production and thoroughly cleaned and sanitized the restaurant, John Gray wrote in a statement. Gray is the vice president for corporate communications and public relations for Atlanta-based Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. The local manager deferred comment.
Arby's did not close.
Wheaton and Vail, who live together in Blackman Township, had gone to Arby’s with Ryan, an eighth grader, and his 11-year-old brother.
Northwest Community Schools released early Friday and the four were having lunch. They often went to the restaurant on Fridays, Ryan said.
Vail said they went through the drive-through window and stopped in the parking lot to eat in the car before Wheaton had to return to work.
All four ordered roast beef, and any food remaining after Ryan’s discovery was trashed, Vail said.
Angry, Vail said she could not go inside Arby’s. She took Wheaton to his job, picked up her two daughters from school, called 911 and met police at Allegiance Health.
Medical personnel drew Ryan’s blood and prescribed him some medication, she said, but he does not wish to take it because of its side effects. Testing of his blood is pending.
Ryan said he is feeling fine and normal, but a little concerned.
“He hasn’t been able to sleep very good. He’s really worried lately and he doesn’t want to catch anything,” Vail said.
It's small, but there is a chance he could contract a serious illness, she said.
She called him “traumatized.”
“He’s like, ‘You wouldn’t be able to sleep either if you ate a finger,’” Vail said.
She said she has been in touch with a lawyer, but declined to name him or her and said she has not exactly decided what course to take.
One thing is for sure.
“We don’t eat fast food no more,” Wheaton said.