On February 27, 1992, Stella Liebeck, a 79-year-old widow, was in the passenger seat of her grandson’s Ford Probe ordering a Value Meal at the drive through window of an Albuquerque, New Mexico, McDonald’s. Since there were no cup holders in the Probe and the interior surfaces were sloped, her grandson, Christopher Tiano, pulled into a parking spot after they got their order.
“I wanted to take the top off the coffee to put cream and sugar in,” Liebeck told a local news station at the time. “So I put the cup between my knees to steady it [as I tried] to get the top off.”
“And after that,” says Tiano, “she started screaming.”
The coffee spilled on Liebeck’s lap, resulting in second- and third-degree burns over 16 percent of her body. She went into shock and was hospitalized for a week, undergoing numerous skin graft operations.
“I’m a nurse, and I was horrified by the type of injuries that she had sustained,” said Liebeck’s daughter-in-law, Barbara Liebeck.
When Liebeck’s medical bills topped $10,000, she contacted McDonald’s and asked to be reimbursed.
“We couldn’t believe that this much damage could happen over spilled coffee,” Liebeck’s daughter, Judy Allen, said in Scalded by the Media, a 2013 documentary about the case. “We wrote a letter to McDonald’s asking them to check the temperature of the coffee and to give recompense for the medical bills.”
“We said, ‘Your machine must be too hot, so look at it, and fix it if it’s broken,’ ” said Liebeck’s son-in-law, Charles Allen. “It must be an aberration. But if that’s your policy, we ask you to worry about your policy.”
McDonald’s responded with an offer of $800.
Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.
Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.
My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me everything you know.”
“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” —Alcohol
@yoyoha (Josh Hara)
My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.
Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?
A: A mechanic.
More About Culture
What You’re Sharing
- 8 Jimmy Carter Quotes That Will Make You Proud to be American
- 10 Quotes That Will Change the Way You Think About John Lennon
- Rare, Behind-the-Scenes Photos of the Beatles from ‘Help!’
- Stunningly Beautiful Photos You Won’t Believe Are Actually Seeds
- 12 Wise and Witty Groucho Marx Sayings That Basically Say It All