Last month, McDonald’s announced that it will soon start swapping its plastic straws for paper ones at its restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It currently has 1,361 locations in the two countries, and those restaurants go through 1.8 million straws every day, according to the BBC. But just one of those 1.8 million straws was the focal point of a recent court case—and it’s the reason why a 13-year-old boy was charged with assault.
In November, the boy and three of his friends were eating at a McDonald’s in Hammersmith, West London, when they started acting like… a group of unattended 13-year-old boys. One of them allegedly put a French fry into his straw and tried to launch it at his friend’s face. He missed.
The fry hit a woman who was eating with a group of her friends, and she confronted the kid. According to The Sun, all seven of them got into a fight that spilled outside the restaurant, and the boys all found themselves facing criminal charges. After a police investigation that stretched across an embarrassing number of calendar pages, the fry-launcher was charged with assault; after two magistrate trials, the charge was dropped after he accepted a police caution.
The Telegraph explains that a police caution is “intended to be used as a proportionate response to low level offending where a person has admitted an offense.” It is not the same as a criminal conviction, but it can be taken into account if a person is arrested or facing charges again in the future. One of the boy’s friends has also “been referred for a caution,” one pleaded guilty to assault, and one is still waiting for his own trial.
The boy’s mother said that the investigation and the legal proceedings were all Super Sized wastes of time—and also she said there’s no way her kid fired a fry at a stranger’s face. “It’s ridiculous. I tried to put a chip in a McDonald’s straw,” she said. “It doesn’t fit.” (Hopefully, the Ghost of Johnny Cochran is haunting the shit out of…someone, repeating his catch phrase for all eternity).
Thank goodness the fast food chain has already pledged to remove its dangerous French fry launchers from its restaurants. Those weaker, less deadly paper ones can’t get here soon enough.