Man Calls 911 About Bandage in Soup
A customer at Leo's Italian Grill called authorities after someone in his dinner party claimed to have found a used bandage in her soup.
PALM HARBOR, Fla.—Another Palm Harbor restaurant has found itself at the center of a bizarre incident.
A Palm Harbor man who was dining at the new Leo's Italian Grill on U.S. 19 called 911 to request that the Health Department investigate a bandage that his sister-in-law says she found in her chicken soup.
David Baier was celebrating a friend's birthday with seven other people the evening of April 28.
"When the soup came out, it looked fine," said Baier, who had never been to the restaurant before. "I stirred a little bit of it and took a bite of it, and my sister-in-law was stirring it to cool it off, and she found this tan colored thing. She picked it up, and at first she thought it was like a thin piece of meat and her husband turned and said, 'That's a Band-Aid. Don't eat it, put it down.' I was disgusted because I'd already taken a bite."
Baier says his party brought the problem to the staff's attention. At first, they were very apologetic, but then Baier claims a staff member said, "It's not ours; there's nobody in the back with any cuts on their hands."
"They said it without even going back to look, so I thought that was kind of odd," Baier said. "Then, they said it could have come from the manufacturing of the packaging in whatever cans they had."
From Customer Complaint to 911 Call
Baier said he decided to call authorities when the staff implied that someone at the table may have put the used bandage in the soup. "The last thing they said was 'How do we know you didn't put it in there?" he said. "Once you accuse me of doing something, you call my character into question, and I didn't appreciate that whatsoever."
Baier tried to call the non-emergency number at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, but he couldn't get through. So he called 911.
Palm Harbor Patch obtained the recording of his conversation with the dispatcher.
911 Operator: 911, is this a police, fire or medical emergency?
David Baier: It's a non-emergency call. I tried to call your non-emergency number but they can't hear me and I can't get through.
911 Operator: What are you trying to report?
David Baier: I'm in a restaurant in Palm Harbor and I'd like to make some sort of report. There's a Band-Aid in our soup, and we'd like to get the health department involved in this.
911 Operator: OK. So, you need — you want to speak with the police?
David Baier: I do.
A Pinellas County sheriff's deputy responded to the call and spoke with Baier outside the restaurant.
"If somebody calls 911, we respond. We determined it was not a criminal matter," said Sgt. David DiSano of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
The deputy suggested that Baier call health officials, which Baier did the following Monday.
Inspectors and Restaurant Respond
Inspectors with the Florida Department of Business & Regulation then visited Leo's Italian Grill on May 3 and found 22 critical and 8 non-critical violations that required further review but were not an immediate threat to the public.
"Leo," the owner of the restaurant, was not available to talk about the incident. However, a staff member says the family has owned restaurants in the area for 25 years and has never had any problems like this.
"He was so upset," said food server Cassie Sellinger, recalling Baier on the night he complained about the soup. She says Baier and his party did not have to pay for any of the food, and the pot of soup was thrown out.
As for Leo, the restaurant's owner, Sellinger says he spends a lot of time in the kitchen cooking and he did everything he could to help Baier and his party that night.
"He's really good at correcting any issues and went to the table to take care of the problem right away," she said, adding that the person who made the soup did not have any cuts and was not wearing any bandages that day.
Sellinger appeared baffled that the whole ordeal even happened.
"I've never had an instance where people didn't like the food," she said. "We've never dealt with anything like that before. We have a lot of loyal customers."
Baier says he has no plans to sue.
This is the second time in less than a year that a Palm Harbor restaurant was at the center of a bizarre incident. In June 2011, burning rum from a Bananas Foster dessert spilled onto a table of customers at the Ozona Blue Grilling Company. One of the victims was airlifted to a hospital with third-degree burns.
- 911 Calls Reveal Quick Response in Flaming Dessert Mishap
- Witnesses Describe Dessert Fire at Ozona Blue
Leo's Italian Grill is at 33286 U.S. 19 in Palm Harbor.
What would you have done in this situation? Let us know in the comments section below.