Man Finds Used Condom In Southwestern Whopper, Sues Burger King

Van Miguel Hartless is suing the owner of a Rutland Burger King after biting into a Southwestern Whopper that contained a used condom. When Hartless complained to the manager, he “laughed off the incident.”

Hartless said during an interview Thursday that the second and last time he visited the Burger King in Rutland was on June 18 when the lure of a home-style hamburger brought him to the restaurant.

“At that time they were promoting the Southwestern Whopper. Being from Texas I was excited. There’s not a lot of spicy food here,” he said.

Hartless, who moved to Fair Haven two years ago, said he didn’t recognize anyone working at the restaurant and as far as he knows, no one in the restaurant knew him.

But while he was ordering his meal, he said the woman taking his order gave him a hard time about doing the order his way.

“I asked for a Whopper with jalapenos and hold the onions,” he said. “The girl told me they didn’t have jalapenos but the last time I was in there they gave me jalapenos. When I said that, she told me that they never carried jalapenos. I told her that was fine, but she pulled out a list and said, ‘Like you see, we don’t carry them.’

“When she read back my order a few minutes later it was wrong,” he added.

Frustrated, Hartless said he sat in a booth to wait for his meal. From the angle of the booth, he said he couldn’t see the kitchen or the person preparing his sandwich.

When his order was ready, he said he took it home with him to Fair Haven where he sat down to dinner with his spouse and stepdaughter. He said after making his gruesome discovery, the rest of the sandwiches were searched but no additional objects were found.

Hartless was rightly incensed by the manager’s crass reaction: “That’s the part that upsets me the most, is that he laughed about it.” Burger King’s official reaction was similarly insensitive. They sent an apology less than a week after the incident that concluded: “Hope you come back and have more pleasurable experience.”

The urge to think “Attention Whore! Frivolous Lawsuit!” is mitigated because Hartless submitted to a polygraph test and seems genuinely troubled. The poor guy was plagued by nightmares, the kind you do not have unless you suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome:

“I know it sounds kind of funny now but I had dreams where I would be doing random things and whatever I was holding would turn into the hamburger or the condom.”

Vermont man alleges he found condom in Burger King burger [The Rutland Herald via BarfBlog]
Photo: Albert J. Marro / Rutland Herald

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. peggynature says:

    Wow, not only is that disgusting, it’s dangerous. Poor kid.

  2. Musician78 says:

    That is nasty as hell.

  3. Xkeeper says:

    This is one of those cases in which I hope the guy wins and manages to put a severe dent (if not obliterate) the store in question.

    Having an employee that does this is bad enough. Laughing about it is another matter entirely. Sidestepping the issue and just saying “Sorry, come back and try again!” is just kicking them when they’re down.

    This is disgusting.

  4. Balisong says:

    The link says that they’re not sure if the condom was used or not…Did he not keep the burger and have it scanned for semen? But anyway, why is this guy having to sue?!? This should be being investigated by the police! This man could have gotten any sort of STD. Whatever happened to just spitting in someone’s food… I’m ashamed to be from Vermont right now >_<

  5. daisukeumon says:

    This is very troublesome. This man should start litigation againest BK or at the least the Store in question including the employees. Not to mention that the police need to investigate this. Is there a law about biological harm? That is what it sounds like to me. Assualting a person with biohazard!

  6. Hate to be the cad, but it was mitigated because he submitted to a non-court admissible polygraph test, and “seemed” troubled? Not that he did not place it there himself, but seemed troubled. And luckily, the subjective test was performed by a person paid by his lawyer.

    Also, rather than going to the burger king in Fair Haven, where he lived, he went 20 miles away to a completely different Burger King, and went inside to order his meal, and seemed to make himself memorable by requesting something and then arguing about it. Some possible red flags there, as if I am bringing home food, I usually choose the closest restaurant to my destination.

    As for the nightmares, it’s almost like whiplash. It can’t be proven, but it might be there. I just think this is hinky.

  7. DallasDMD says:

    Fast food, condoms or no, is disgusting and bad for you!

  8. bookling says:

    What the hell? If I were the manager of that store, I would’ve pulled the security tapes ASAP to see which employee had done it, and fired them. I certainly wouldn’t be laughing about it.

  9. ironchef says:

    how do we know this dude’s not faking it. Remember the syringe BS in cans of pepsi? Somehow people were claiming it in record numbers after the fact in the hopes of cashing in. One lady was caught on tape slipping one in at Walmart and trying to cash in.

  10. Pylon83 says:

    @GitEmSteveDave:
    Yeah, I tend to agree. The whole thing seems awfully fishy. The simply fact that he’s never initiated frivolous/false litigation in the past doesn’t prove that this is legit. While the odd facts (such as being in a different town) can easily be accounted for, I’d like to see if they actually are accounted for. Further, I’m not sure he has an “open and shut” case for negligence. With negligence, you have to prove actual harm. He’s going to have to get expert witnesses to testify that he is indeed suffering some sort of mental harm/injury. I’m not saying the guy is a liar, but I do think the story has some holes. If he’s lucky, Burger King will offer a nice settlement rather and he’ll take it rather than risking a trial.

  11. DojiStar says:

    Reason number one why you never give the people making your food a hard time.

    Even if you don’t think you aren’t giving them a hard time, they may perceive it in a completely different way.

    Sue the company, sue the person who made it. If they are a minor, sue the parents.

  12. 3drage says:

    Only in America does a fast food worker have a pocket full of used condoms, ready to thrust upon unsuspecting consumers. What’s wrong with people?

  13. Shappie says:

    Did you also read in other copies of the article that he waited 3 weeks before contacting Burger King? I would be driving to the store that very minute of that happened to me.

  14. JackAshley says:

    Worse yet is the dingbat who thinks that he could put a condom in someone’s burger and have them NOT NOTICE IT. For god’s sake, spit is gross enough, and you could probably get away with it. But a condom???

  15. TPIRman says:

    @3drage: You’re right. Bad things happen only in America, never anywhere else.

  16. 3drage says:

    @Johnny you misread what I wrote, although it was a pretty simple comment. Find me a news post of another country offering up used condoms in a meal and I’ll retract my statement.

  17. MumblesFumbles says:

    Not to disparage on this incident but hopefully fewer people will be eating this grossly unhealthy fast food as a result.

  18. Nekron says:

    I’m confused. Did someone “happened to have” a used condom on them, did they find one in the trash or did they run into the back and “make” one? Where do you get a used condom on such short notice?

  19. jooverz says:

    This is what happens when our society accepts fast-food as a convenience, we end up relying on an incompetent workforce who hate their jobs in the first place. Hurray for America…

  20. Electroqueen says:

    I nearly lost my marbles when I read that headline. My god, this really is ripe for a lawsuit, or maybe multiple…
    I really do pity the guy… the shock of finding a used condom in your burger, at home?!

  21. sleze69 says:

    @3drage: I am gonna agree with Johnny. Your comment oozes US-loathing. How’s that free speech stuff treating you?

  22. LucyInTheSky says:

    … EW.
    just ew.

  23. He says:

    Polygraph tests are phony science. They have no basis in fact.

    But if the manager actually did react in that manner and not fire anybody, I’m inclined to believe him.

  24. geeoph says:

    Five years ago, a family friend of ours ate a burger from Burger King that the employees messed with because he was a cop. They sprinkled some weird drug over it that he was allergic too. It made him deathly ill for over a year, and he was fully supported by his wife, which put themin a lot of debt because they had just had a kid too.

    They sued the pants off of Burger King, got the store shut down and the teens were sent to jail for a long time.

    I have no sympathy for pricks that do this kind of stuff to customers. It can RUIN they’re lives.

    Thankfully, our friend is alright now and back working but for a while no one was sure how he could survive.

  25. taney71 says:

    Since the finger incident I am doubtful of strange things in products. If it really happened I hope he gets a bunch of money so as to prevent this from happening in the future. If this is some type of scam then I hope he pays dearly for it.

  26. cde says:

    @He: Polygraphs have plenty of basis in fact. Its how non-technical people take the polygraphs readings to mean that mess it up. Polygraphs do not tell you if a person is lying or telling the truth, it tells you that a person is reacting a certain way which is a plausible sign of truth or falsehood.

    And the reason they are not accepted in court (which is not true everywhere) is because even though they are capable of showing that most people are “lying or telling the truth” is the ease to bypass it in a controlled environment.

  27. Eric says:

    This is one reason why I have not eaten at a fast food restaurant in two years.

  28. 3drage says:

    @sleze69: Free speech hasn’t been treating me so well, since the US PATRIOT act I haven’t really been able to say how much this country has gone to crap without worrying about the FBI knocking down my door or being put on a list.

  29. Arthur says:

    If the condom was really a used one, then they have all the evidence they need for DNA tests of all the workers in that Burger King.

  30. camille_javal says:

    @Pylon83: for negligence, you have to prove injury. However, in addition to the possible psychological effects, this seems to involve actual malice, which I think changes the nature of the tort somewhat.

  31. specialed5000 says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: There is no Burger King in Fair Haven (according to burgerking.com). In fact, there are only about 6 in the entire state of Vermont.

  32. clyde55 says:

    Just like any other big-co, major restaurant chains have just about quit caring completely when it comes to customers now that so many have become dependent on them because of today’s hectic lifestyles. It doesn’t surprise me that the employee laughed.

    Take those little “Contact Us” boxes on their web sites. Completely useless. I’ve used them three times in the past year (Subway, McDonalds, and Pizza Hut) and received no response whatsoever from any of them. I imagine they just hit the delete button daily to get rid of the nuisance.

    I guess they are there for customers to let off steam and hopefully get over it which most of the time they will instead of writing snail mail or trying to contact someone personally.

  33. uricmu says:

    I am guessing that the Condom was outside a package (still disgusting) but not “used to its fullness”. In the 3 minutes it takes to make the sandwich, I doubt somebody could have snuck to the storeroom (yuck) with a coworker and “prepared it”.

    Unless kids these days carry them around as a memorabilia, or something :)

  34. lemur says:

    @He: Right you are, man! Right you are! They might have well killed a chicken and checked out its guts. Or better, have John Edwards ask some ghosts what really happened. Polygraph tests are complete and utter nonsense, end of story.

  35. XianZomby says:

    Does used condom mean “condom containing semen” or does it mean “condom out of the wrapper.” I wonder if folks in a kitchen keep used condoms lying around, or if one was specially made for his burger in the bathroom. Or if somebody opened a new condom, filled it with mayonase, and put that on there. I guess my question is “would you like come with your buger?”

  36. trollkiller says:

    Not buying the story, the manager laughed at him….. yeah right.

  37. nerdup says:

    To be fair to the manager, that shit is funny. It’s funny, because it’s so messed up. I would’ve laughed. In fact, I laughed when I read the headline in my reader. Maybe the manager is just one of those nervous laughers. And let’s not forget it’s Vermont, so maybe he was stoned… Anyway, I agree that if they offer a settlement, this kid should take it.@3drage: Please…

  38. pine22 says:

    i hope this isnt true because its really gross, but then again there was that lady who planted a finger in her chili and tried to sue Wendys.

    jalapenos? since when could you order a whopper with with jalapenos? i know wendys has some burger with jalapenos now, but not burger king. maybe he got them confused…

  39. forgottenpassword says:

    I am leaning towards BS on this one.

    This part made me giggle! LOL! ….

    “I know it sounds kind of funny now but I had dreams where I would be doing random things and whatever I was holding would turn into the hamburger or the condom.”

  40. forgottenpassword says:

    i was just thinking…. if you wanted to be REALLY clever about hiding something disgusting in someone’s burger. Take one of those premade/preformed burger patties & Insert whatever (condom, mouse head, band-aid) inside the patty & reform it. Keep it on hand for rude customers. When its discovered… could be blamed on the factory who made it. Putting something on top of an already cooked burger is just going to get you fired.

    Heck! I am suprised kids dont keep a spoiled meat patty in some dark corner of the fridge/meat locker to use against rude customers!

    I once put pepper spray & tobasco sauce inside beer bottles of a coworker who drank on the job (while the boss looked the other way, but I’d be fired for doing the same). Wasnt hard…. just have to crimp the bottlecaps back on really well.

  41. Rusted says:

    @ironchef: I agree. No proof of who did what here. Very fishy.

  42. trollkiller says:

    @forgottenpassword: Things turning into condoms in a dream would be a bit disturbing.

    I like the beer trick, I think that is the only time I could support someone altering a product. Good Show.

  43. TechnoDestructo says:

    @JackAshley:

    Well, we are talking about Burger King here.

  44. skeleem_skalarm says:

    It is to puke. This is the kind of stuff that has put me off eating out for the past couple of years, and helped me lose 40 lbs.

  45. Shadowfire says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: You don’t know a whole lot about Vermont, do you? If you want to go somewhere, you have to drive there. If it’s 20 miles, you do so. More than likely, he lives in Fair Haven, which has a tiny population, and nothing else aside from a McDonalds. He also probably works in Rutland, which aside from Burlington, is about as “urban” as Vermont gets. Rutland is probably the only place in southern Vermont with a good number of jobs, along with White River Junction.

    What I’m trying to say is, you’re being ignorant. Ths could all very well be the case, in a state like Vermont, where you everything is in the middle of the woods. Not being crass… I’ve lived in Vermont for 16 years.

  46. synergy says:

    @uricmu: What I was thinking was that, to mess with someone’s mind, I’d mix up maybe some mayo and some relish liquid and put that inside the wrapperless condom. Real/gross looking, but unused and therefore no DNA to link.

  47. synergy says:

    @Shadowfire: That’s what I was suspecting, but knowing little about Vermont I didn’t want to say anything. Thanks for chiming in.

  48. Pylon83 says:

    @camille_javal:
    I agree. The only reason I addressed the negligence claim was because that is what the story indicated they were suing under. I think this would fall into an intentional tort because of the malice, rather than negligence. Maybe intentional infliction of emotional distress. I’m not sure what other possibilities they might have without knowing all of the facts, but I simply don’t think it fits well into negligence.

  49. yg17 says:

    @uricmu: Who ever said you needed help preparing it?

  50. jawacg says:

    Assuming this is on the up and up, I have a hard time believing the manager had the balls to laugh. With places getting shot up here lately, I think I would be more cautious how I pissed off someone by laughing at them.

  51. Wubbytoes says:

    Thats pretty messed up.

  52. Akamaru says:

    UGH! No joke, I was on my last bite of a double whopper when I saw this headline.

    This is not going to stop me from eating at Burger King since it was probably some disgruntled minimum wage worker lashing out.

    But really people, a condom? I guess to be on the safe side we should order our whoppers without the mayo.

    :-D

  53. thats an impressive fucking name…hell, he should win this case based on his name alone

  54. XTC46 says:

    Im wondering if “the manager” was actually a store manager or a shift leader. I believe the shift leader would laugh since they are usually just as young and stupid as the rest of the workers.

  55. kbarrett says:

    Gee … would he rather the employee not wear a condom during burger-sex?

  56. EtherealStrife says:

    Out here in the Southwest we do things a lil different.

    In all seriousness, it was probably the most nutritious part of the hamburger.

  57. FromThisSoil says:

    How does he know it was a used condom? Did he inspect it for semen? If opening it constitutes it as being used, than maybe, but I doubt it was used.

    Who brings a used condom with them to work?

  58. Smashville says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: According to their website, there are only two Burger Kings in Vermont.

  59. goller321 says:

    I won’t be surprised for a minute that this was a fully used condom. This about it, with movies like JackAss, video games like Vice Squad and the crap they watch on TV, teens are more brazen than ever before. Add to that the entitlement mentality Americans now have and you have a recipe for disaster.
    When I was a teen, we thought up some bad stuff, but today makes my generation look like angels. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think all teens are bad, but the bad ones are much worse today than ever before. And people like moron that was peeing into his bosses’ coffee don’t help matters any.
    I hope if this case is on the up and up, the guy gets a ton.

  60. goller321 says:

    @FromThisSoil: Some jackass teenager that thinks it would be funny to put in someones sandwich…

    Who goes to a mall to kill a bunch of people to famous???

  61. Absolutely disgusting.

  62. Trai_Dep says:

    All I can say is, Should not have ordered it with the special sauce.

  63. ninjatales says:

    Brings new meaning to “mayo” in the bun. YUKKKK.

    This is why I never get mayo in fast food.

  64. privatejoker75 says:

    I found a dead fly inside a McDonalds pancake before i thought THAT was bad

  65. loueloui says:

    As a shareholder of BKC I can tell you I don’t believe him one bit. We’ve been fooled by the old fake used condom in the sandwich routine before. Next you’ll tell me there was a creamy white substance in it.

    No, seriously. That is nasty. I got the McDonalds ‘2for2′ Big Macs once, and was chewing a bite of one when I felt a hair in my mouth. I reached in, and pulled out this long brown hair, and I could feel it slithering out of my throat.

    Incredibly, the manager did not want to refund my money for the second one because I did not open it so ‘how did I know whether it was bad or not ?’

  66. I have a hard time believing the manager had the balls to laugh.

    @jawacg: How is that more unbelievable than the condom being in the burger in the first place?

  67. vladthepaler says:

    Burger King finally puts something healthy in a burger and all the customer can do is complain… Seriously, does anyone think a little cum is worse for someone’s health than a fast food hamburger?

    (The manager’s reaction sucks, i can understand the customer being pissed. But nightmares? Imagine someone calling you up and completely seriously telling you he’s having nightmares about a condom in his hamburger. You’d laugh too.)

  68. Trai_Dep says:

    @loueloui: …So if you were a shareholder of McDonald’s, you would have taken that non-existent hair out of your lying mouth’s sensory nerves, then meekly shrugged when the 19-yo fast-food manager told you that “how would you know if it was bad or not?”

    Just so I have it straight.

  69. nutrigm says:

    1 more reason to cook your own food at home and save dough!

  70. Another reason to never eat at BK or MCD’s ever again. I am 6months+ sober(from those two places) and proud of it. I used to eat them both all of the time. Now I cannot believe I used to do that. Ick. Its not just horrible that the food is VERY unhealthy, the workforce that mans these businesses typically isn’t a group of people I would trust (angstridden highschoolers, dropouts, etc. – i know, its a stereotype, and its not true everywhere, but it is a general rule lol).

  71. gingerCE says:

    I think time will tell whether he’s telling the truth. The Wendy’s finger in the chili was proven false but it hurt Wendy’s cause the media all jumped on it.

    As for polygraphs, I kinda know how to beat one–though never tried but was told by an expert in the field how best to beat the machine. Also, polygraphs are suspicious when paid for by the attorney.

    I remember hearing about another condom in fast food story but I think that one was false.

    And finally, I’d like to know this guy’s financial situation. Is he in a lot of debt where he is more likely to need commit and maybe commit fraud? Or is he in a good financial situation, good job and little to no debt–makes me less likely to believe he’d pull such a stunt.

  72. Dr.Ph0bius says:

    I understand that this would take a reform of the legal system, which isnt likely, but in any event…

    With all of the hands that the burger goes through until it goes from the freezer at the store and then cooked and then served… wouldnt it be more appropriate to sue the actual location that the incident occured in (unless this hapened to be a corporate owned location, though I dont think many are)? It isnt like there is a BK corporate policy requiring condoms be placed in whoppers? This is an incident that is local, and probably was done by one or two (nasty) people working at that branch. I dont see why BK as a whole should be sued for something happening locally. The lawsuit should be against the branch, and if the branch is able to figure out the culprits, sue them instead or as well. You would have to feel for a franchise owner who is watching his entire livelihood being taken down by a couple of 16 year old douchbags with nothing to loose and no real sense of accountability.

    In a hit and run, you dont sue the company that manufactured the car, or the dealership who sold the car. You sue the driver a.k.a the person responsible for the action that took place.

    But in any case, the condom was probably the most nutritious thing in the whole “burger” (I dont think fast food deserves to be called an actual burger). :)

  73. Larry Rosenfeld says:

    whats on your burger cheese pickles seamen