Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Chinese restaurant to sue diner who falsely claimed its napkin dispensers had maggots

An Indiana restaurant is taking a customer to court after she claimed to have found maggots in a napkin dispenser, local newspaper the Kokomo Tribune reports. The “maggots” were later determined to be paper fibers from napkins.
The Great Wall Buffet, a Chinese restaurant in Kokomo, Ind., was visited by an inspector from the Howard County Health Department on March 7 in response to a complaint by diner Dottie Stewart. Stewart also went on Facebook to accuse Great Wall of having maggots, leaving her “sick to [her] stomach.”
According to the inspector’s report, however, there were no such maggots. “The substance that ‘appeared to be maggots’ was actually paper fibers from napkins that had been in the dispensers before,” the report stated.
The incident prompted the restaurant to hire a lawyer, Erik May, who sent Stewart a cease-and-desist letter over the “malicious” claim. Days later, she sent a letter apologizing for her mistake, saying she was “mortified” and “distraught.” She added that she deleted her Facebook profile in response.

“I had no intention of damaging the reputation of your restaurant, and I did not act with any malice toward you or your restaurant,” she wrote. “I did not intend for my Facebook post to be available to anyone other than my family and small group of friends.
“I am sorry. I understand that making the post on Facebook was not the right thing to do, and I’m sorry. I would ask that you forgive me. It was never my intention to cause any distress. Looking back, however, I can clearly see that I didn’t think things through before I made my Facebook post.”
But the restaurant has told the Tribune that it intends to file a lawsuit against Stewart, whose post May has caused “irreparable damage” and contributed to a “considerable” drop in sales.
Manager Shan Lin told the paper that the post scared off diners, with Great Wall losing a catering order worth at least $200.
“People think they can say anything over Facebook,” said Lin. “The damage has been made. It’s still there, still continuing. And it’s hard for me to forgive.
“I think we should stand up to protect our reputation,” she added. “We’ve been in Kokomo for over 20 years, and I don’t want someone who is not responsible just saying something on social media and spread rumors [about] us … and make our customers scared.”
A video showing the napkin dispenser in question has surfaced on Facebook.
Meanwhile, Lin told the Tribune that security footage showed Stewart returning to the buffet for more food after examining the supposedly maggot-infested napkin dispenser.
“That’s not what a normal person would be acting like if you find something that’s very serious, could damage your health, you know?” she said.

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