Food poisoning is no joke. The violent fever. The awful feeling of your body forcing everything inside of you out. You look and feel like death warmed over. In those harrowing hours of a foodborne illness, you are face-to-face with your own mortality.
Last summer a massive norovirus outbreak brought America’s obsession with Chipotle to a halt. Over a hundred people in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and California were diagnosed with a norovirus that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found to originate in a Chipotle. The outbreak caused Chipotle sales to soften and stock to plummet. In February they closed every store for a mandatory food safety meeting. Then, this past March , the Chipotle norovirus reared it’s ugly head again.
According to the Denver Post, the Denver-based chain has been settling with victims of the chain’s food poisioning. 96 cases have involved cash settlements.
Here’s something you probably didn’t see coming, however: One 19-year-old girl wanted more than just cash. She wanted free Chipotle burritos. While others would shun the chain from their diet for life, this millennial wanted to eat gratis Chipotle — the very chain that put her in the hospital in the first place. Via:
“In 25 years of doing foodborne illness cases, I’ve never had a client ask for coupons for the restaurant they had gotten sick at,” said William Marler, an attorney with Seattle-based Marler Clark who represented 97 Chipotle customers. “In fact, some (clients) had gone back to the restaurant and they would call me and say, ‘Do you think it’s bad that I went back and got a burrito?’ ”
Marler said Chipotle financially settled 96 cases between March and last week. One case is still pending because it is more complex. The cases were a mix of customers sickened from the E. coli, salmonella and norovirus outbreaks in cities nationwide, including Boston, Minneapolis and Simi Valley, Calif.
In the resolved cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed contamination results through medical tests, Marler said.
“Those cases get resolved because there’s nothing to argue about,” he said. “That makes it easier, to be candid, for Chipotle to look at them and say, ‘Wow. An independent entity confirmed it.’ ”
That’s borderline junkie behavior. A dance with death from Chipotle while they’re dangling cash infront of you and you want… more Chipotle? Literally makes my brain hurt. It really is the smack of fast food.
The lawyer representing the norovirus victims thinks she isn’t alone in trying to get comped burritos. He thinks that other Chipotle-addicted millennials probably just went straight to the chain instead of lawyering up, which means they *probably* didn’t benefit from the legal leverage. Those people probably just got free burrito coupons, as opposed to this 19-year-old girl who got burrito coupons AND cash for — you know, paying off medical bills and such. Via The Denver Post:
Marler said he hasn’t heard of other sick-Chipotle customer cases. He believes that based on the restaurant’s loyal following, many customers went straight to Chipotle instead of a lawyer. You just don’t often find customers like his 19-year-old client who after recovering from being hospitalized for a few days told him, “the one thing I want is free burritos and I’m like what? She wanted me to ask for her because (she said) ‘I really love Chipotle and want to go back.’ ”
And she wasn’t alone. While none of his other clients specifically asked for coupons, “a lot of them were getting them,” he said.
“They have a following of especially 20-somethings that other restaurants don’t have,” Marler said. “It’s a little odd, but it probably says something positive about Chipotle.