Could fast-food wrath be the new road rage? That's the question some observers asked back in January, after a Toledo, Ohio, woman reacted to the news that her local McDonald's was no longer serving Chicken McNuggets by punching her fist through the restaurant's drive-thru window. (See video below.) Charged with felony vandalism, Melodi Dushane, 24, was just one of a growing number of fast-food lovers who give way to violence when they can't have it their way. Here, six more drive-thru showdowns that will live in fast-food infamy:
1. The Wendy's chili-sauce shooting, 2007
When a drive-thru customer at a Miami Wendy's outlet demanded 10 packets of chili sauce with his order, manager Renal Frage initially restricted him to three (as per restaurant policy) before relenting and handing over all 10 packets. After the spice-fixated customer failed to bully yet more packets out of Frage, he shot the manager in the arm repeatedly and sped off. "[I can’t figure out] why someone would shoot me over chili sauce," Frage later reflected. The presumably pungent assailant has never been found.
2. The McMuffin smack-down, 2009
A McDonald's customer in Peoria, Ill., took umbrage when drive-thru operator Patricia Mungia, 38, handed him a Sausage McGriddle sandwich that lacked a key, advertised component — an egg — and hurled the unacceptable breakfast treat at Mungia's face. Though police later said that the "hot greasy McGriddle" could have caused physical harm, Mungia declined "medical attention for the assault by a sausage sandwich," and no charges were filed.
3. The Dunkin' Donuts crowbar melee, 2007
Stressed out by the process of navigating her gold Pontiac minivan through a popular Providence Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru, Laura Defazzio, 27, lost her cool when the driver behind her honked impatiently. Leaping from her vehicle with a crowbar in hand, Defazzio threatened to murder the brazen honker, Denise DeMedeiros, 36. At one point in the ensuing contretemps, Defazzio (back in her vehicle) grabbed DeMedeiros' hair, pulled her head through the car window, and ran over DeMedeiros' foot with her vehicle. The frustrated doughnut consumer was charged with felony assault with a dangerous weapon.
4. The orange juice "emergency," 2009
So distraught was Raibin Raof Osman, 20, to discover that his local Oregon McDonald's had neglected to include O.J. in his drive-thru order that he called 9-1-1 to report the incident. The phone call earned Osman a night in jail for "Improper use of 9-1-1" — a class B misdemeanor in Oregon. Osman never got his juice.
5. The Taco Bell madman, 2009
A Miami Taco Bell's manager decision to close up shop at 3:40 a.m. drove an unidentified assailant to violence. The 20-something suspect — whom the Miami New Times described as "furious and completely lacking in third-rate Mexican cuisine" — idled in Taco Bell's parking lot until the manager opened the door, then he opened fire, injuring one female employee. The suspect has never been found.
6. The disabled-customer debacle, 2009
A handicapped woman made waves in Blenheim, New Zealand, when, unable to maneuver her motorized scooter through the front door of her local McDonald's, she zipped over to the drive-thru lane — only to be denied service at the window for "health and safety reasons." Margaret Todd, 69, was furious: "I was so annoyed I just sat there and let the cars build up behind me," she told reporters. McDonald’s later apologized for the incident.
This story originally ran on January 5 and was updated on August 10.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- Why the Sony hack changes everything
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- You should be furious about Hollywood's gutless retreat on The Interview
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
Subscribe to the Week