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Police Use DNA Test to Prove Chili's Waiter Spat in Customer's Drink

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The customer now plans to sue to the restaurant.


If you're ever worried your waiter spat in your food, you may have real reason to be concerned. According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Ken Yerdon and his wife Julia asked the police to do a DNA test to confirm that their server at a Chili's — yes the chain that is making their food more instagrammable — in Syracuse, New York spit in one of their sodas. The couple dined at the restaurant last July, as they did once a week. However, the broccoli they had ordered was undercooked and the chips they wanted had not been served. When they pointed this out to their sever Gregory Lamica, he appeared to be very annoyed. The Yerdons then told Lamica that they "wanted to get their drinks refilled and to take them in to-go cups," which only annoyed Lamica more.

The server brought the couple the cups but the Yerdons say he "wouldn't make eye contact" with them on their way out. Ken Yerdon took two sips from his cup while driving when the lid popped off. It was then that he says he saw spit in the cup: "It wasn't regular spit either. It was definitely a loogie." Yerdon took a picture of his cup and drove back to the restaurant. The managers of the outpost apologized but "did not admit that anyone at Chili's was responsible." The mangers tried to make up for the incident by offering Yerdons coupons and refunding the meal, but they wouldn't fire Lamica, which pissed off Julie Yerdon: "We just felt like he needed to be terminated immediately... To do something like that was so vile and beyond the pale. We couldn't believe it."

The Yerdons then turned the situation into an episode of CSI by calling the state police. An investigator questioned Lamica who denied ever spitting in the cup, but agreed to a DNA test. Three months later, the results showed it was indeed Lamica who dropped a loogie into the soda. He was charged with disorderly conduct and asked to pay a $125 fine.

Lamica is no longer working at the Chili's but that wasn't enough for the Yerdon's. They plan to sue the owners of the restaurant this week for compensation for the "psychological trauma they endured not knowing whether or not [Ken] Yerdon had contracted HIV or Hepititis" from sipping from the contaminated cup. Marissa Rice, the director of a local health clinic, points out that Yerdon had no reason to worry about HIV because it can't be transmitted through saliva. Yerdon tested negative for both.

Compared to other cases, Lamica got a light punishment for his actions. In 2013, a McDonald's employee in Michigan received a 29-month prison sentence for spitting in a police officer's food. The employee had hepatitis C.

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