John Hansen and his partner Jennifer Cameron were on a road trip with their four children in July of 2013 when they decided to pull over and get something to eat.
They ended up at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Buckingham, Quebec, but when Hansen tried to order his food in English, the French-speaking employees got angry. They started making fun of the family in French, but they were overheard by Cameron, who happens to be fluent in the language.
“Jennifer, who although being English can speak French, heard them make fun of my ordering in English and speaking in French said to them, we can hear what you are saying. The McDonald’s staff went silent,” Hansen said.
After the family completed their order, they had to wait nearly ten minutes for their food, and they immediately knew something was wrong. The fries were cold and soggy and the ice cream was melted, so Hansen asked for them to be replaced. The McDonald’s staff obliged, but the family’s problems were not over yet.
“Before we had left the restaurant’s parking lot our 5-year-old son after drinking his shake said that it tasted funny,” Hansen recounted. “While the other two shakes tasted fine, when I took a sip of his shake it tasted what I described as being Pine Sol. Almost immediately, my tongue started to burn.”
Cameron also experienced a burning sensation when she tasted the shake, so the family went back to the McDonald’s and confronted the manager. When Hansen asked the manager to taste the shake herself, she refused and the two began to argue.
As her partner fought with the manager, Cameron sampled other shakes from the machine and they all tasted fine. However, she noticed a bottle of blue cleaning solution next to the machine, and she realized this was likely what had been used to cause the burning sensation.
Realizing what had happened, Hansen and Cameron rushed their son to the hospital and called poison control. The boy had intense stomach pain for two days, and his tongue didn’t stop burning until later that night. To this day, the couple says their son has trouble digesting drinks. He also has issues with gaining weight and with differentiating between tastes.
The couple has been in a legal battle with McDonald’s since the incident occurred. McDonald’s tested the shake, but they refuse to say what was in it, despite the fact that the couple wants to know so that they can figure out how to treat their son.
Hansen and Cameron says McDonald’s has offered them settlements of up to $50,000, but they will only admit that there was “trace amounts” of a “store-related compound” in the milkshake.
“Once again, McDonald’s just doesn’t seem to get it. We want to know what our young child ingested,” Hansen lamented. “Please help us to get the test results. There is no reason why a responsible corporation that professes to care about families should have withheld this information from us for close to one year.”
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