*Well, even though attorney Paul M. Newton, Jr. still stands by the fact that he “almost choked to death” on chicken he got at a drive-thru Popeyes, he has pulled his lawsuit as of this writing because he doesn’t like the comments he and his family are receiving.
“I continue to believe that the facts demonstrate an unsafe condition to the public that could easily be solved by the responsible parties at very little cost. I am hopeful that my filing of the court proceeding results in such remedial actions,” he said in an email to The Huffington Post.
Is anyone else shaking their head in wonder about someone, especially an attorney, actually SUING for something that ALMOST happened. Not to mention the perplexity of how choking on a piece of chicken is the fault of a restaurant, and not the person doing the eating.
But I digress…
This is how it all began. Mr. Newton ordered chicken at the Pass Road drive-thru window at a Popeyes restaurant in Gulfport, Mississippi on November 1. He was given his order, and utensils to eat it with. Apparently, therein lies the problem. You know the combination plastic fork-spoon the fast-food chains give you. Well it actually has a name: a spork. I dunno, maybe that was just created by the Huffington Post writer of the article.
Works for me.
But apparently, it didn’t for the attorney who says he was “forced” to eat his chicken breasts with his hands.
The Huffington Post obtained a copy of Newton’s lawsuit which claims he ordered two chicken breasts, red beans and rice, a biscuit and a soft drink through a Gulfport drive-thru window in November 2015, but it only came with a spork. The lack of a knife for the chicken forced him to take matters into his own hands and “tear off pieces thereof with his teeth.”
Not to minimize or undermine the seriousness of this man’s obvious distress, but as I think back, I am beginning to remember several times not getting a certain utensil from some of the fast-food chains I used to frequent when I ate less healthy caused me a level of distress.
But again, this ain’t about me.
Unfortunately, Newton had to undergo emergency surgery at Gulfport’s Memorial Hospital to remove the chicken from his throat.
Reporter Mike Lacy at WLOX News Now spoke to some customers at the restaurant who were as surprised by the lawsuit as I am.
Popeyes chicken former employee Tory Stokes told the news reporter…
“If you choked on your chicken and you had to get your chicken removed from your throat its not because Popeyes didn’t apply a knife to the box. Maybe you should slow down eating (slight giggle). Nobody eats chicken with utensils.”
Customer Jacob Welch says…
“I use utensils to eat red beans and the coleslaw or something of that nature, but I don’t usually use utensils to cut the chicken.”
Jacquelyn Stokes, another Popeyes customer chimes in…
“Behaviorally, we know how much to put in our mouth or we would choke on every bite that we ate.”
With his lawsuit, Newton was suing the fast-food chain for medical compensation and to encourage them to add knives in their chicken dinners.
In all seriousness, no one likes to shell out unexpected expenses. And I am so glad that the end result was that Mr. Newton didn’t end up choking to death. But he might do better recouping his losses in a GoFundMe campaign; where I am sure caring friend, family and even strangers would offer compassionate contributions.
I also hope that the media attention Popeyes will get from this publicity will be encouragement enough for them to consider adding (or at least making it an option) knives to their carry-out boxes of chicken dinners for those people who may actually prefer to cut their chicken into bite-sized chunks.
Not to say someone can’t choke on chicken that was cut with a knife.
Just my opinion.