The flying fickle finger of fate strikes again

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Bill B.
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2005/05/03 12:42:03 (permalink)

The flying fickle finger of fate strikes again

Customer finds employee's finger in frozen custard

'I'll just put it in my mouth and ... see what it is,' man said

Monday, May 2, 2005 Posted: 11:15 PM EDT (0315 GMT)

WILMINGTON, North Carolina (AP) -- A man who ordered a pint of frozen chocolate custard in a dessert shop got a nasty surprise inside -- a piece of severed finger lost by an employee in an accident.

Unlike a recent incident at a Wendy's restaurant in California, no questions of truth have been raised about the finger served up to go at Kohl's Frozen Custard and found later at home by Clarence Stowers.

Officials from the state departments of agriculture and labor went to the shop Monday, and the owner confirmed one of his employees lost part of a finger in an accident with a food-processing machine.

Wilmington television station WWAY reported that Stowers found the finger in frozen custard he purchased Sunday night.

Stowers, who did not immediately return calls Monday from The Associated Press, told the station: "I thought it was candy because they put candy in your ice cream ... to make it a treat. So I said, 'OK, well, I'll just put it in my mouth and get the ice cream off of it and see what it is.'"

Stowers said he spit the object out, but still couldn't identify it. So he went to his kitchen, rinsed it off with water -- and "just started screaming."

Stowers said he planned to contact a lawyer.

Shop owner Craig Thomas said the employee who lost the finger had dropped a bucket while working with a machine that dispenses the custard. He tried to catch the bucket when the accident occurred.

Thomas told WWAY that several employees tried to help the injured worker, and that a drive-thru window attendant apparently scooped custard from the bucket into a pint before being told what had happened.

Joe Reardon of the Agriculture Department's food and drug division said state officials closed the shop while the food processing equipment involved in the accident was cleaned and sanitized.

In March, a Las Vegas woman claimed she bit down on a 1 1/2 inch-long finger fragment while dining with her family at a Wendy's restaurant in San Jose, California.

Investigators have since called her claim a hoax and charged her last month with attempted grand theft related to millions in dollars of financial losses Wendy's has suffered since news of her claim broke.

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