It seems like you shouldn’t have to ask for your burger to be served without human spit on it, but tell that to the staff at the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Queens, New York. No really: Tell them—otherwise you might have to wonder whether someone did actually season your lunch with their own saliva.
Yesterday, Curtis Mays was celebrating Father’s Day with his daughter and granddaughter at the restaurant, and everything was going reasonably well. “[The waitress] was very nice,” he told ABC7. “She comes up to the table, ‘Hi guys, how are you doing?'”
He ordered a well-done burger with cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, and mayo on a toasted bun and so far, so good. (Other than the well-done burger… medium rare, please, folks.) He told the news station that his order had gotten mixed up, so he asked the waitress for the receipt before he paid. When he received it and reviewed everything printed on it, he noticed something that he hadn’t asked for: “Please Spit In It Too,” it said in hard-to-miss red letters.
“I ate my burger already,” he said. “I felt like I was gonna throw up.”
Mays said that the manager comped his meal and that the waitress was immediately fired. (MUNCHIES has reached out to the Bohemian Hall for comment but has not yet received a response.) He also told Mays not to worry, that the chef probably didn’t spit on his lunch.
ABC7 points out that the restaurant has an A rating from the Health Department although, unsurprisingly, its online reputation is taking a hit. Its Yelp page is currently locked, and its Google reviews now include responses like “Don’t go here unless you like saliva.”
Although we try to never read the comments on anything, some of the @-replies to reporter CeFaan Kim’s receipt tweet have suggested that the waitress wasn’t malicious—perhaps she just made a very stupid mistake while typing into the point-of-sale system.
“It is very conceivable the receipt meant to say ‘And split it in two’ since he was there with his kids,” one optimist wrote. (Another said “If you're gonna disrespect a burger by ordering it well-done you deserve disrespect back.” Harsh, but fair.)
In addition to being disgusting, spitting in someone’s food is a big deal in the eyes of the law. In 2009, a deputy in Washington state filed a lawsuit against both Burger King and a local franchise owner after an employee left a giant loogie on top of his Whopper. Deputy Edward Bylsma noticed the spit before he took a bite, but still claimed that its very presence caused “ongoing emotional trauma from the incident, including vomiting, nausea, food anxiety, and sleeplessness.”
The case went all the way to the state’s Supreme Court, who had been asked to rule whether he could sue for emotional distress even though he hadn’t suffered a physical injury. The court ruled 6-3 in his favor.
“Common sense tells us that food consumption is a personal matter and contaminated food is closely associated with disgust and other kinds of emotional turmoil,” Justice Steven Gonzalez wrote at the time.
And rule number one of spitting in someone’s food: Don’t leave evidence of your bad behavior on the receipt.