10 Terrible Overreactions to Messed Up Fast Food Orders


It’s happened to all of us. You ordered a Big Mac at the McDonald’s drive-thru, but when you got home and opened the bag, you discovered a Filet-O-Fish in its place. When this conundrum arises, most people choose between three options: toss the offending food, eat the offending food, or return to the esteemed establishment from whence the food came and kindly ask for a replacement.

Those are all perfectly acceptable responses. These 10 reactions are not.

1. Fire shots

In February, a Grand Rapids woman placed an order at a McDonald’s drive-thru. It was wrong, allegedly missing bacon. Understanding just how upsetting missing bacon can be, the workers apologized and promised that her next order would be on the house, so the woman returned at 3 a.m. for her free meal. It was also incorrect. Rather than ordering again and running the risk that it, too, would be wrong, Shaneka Torres pulled out a gun and shot through the closed car window and the drive-thru window. Luckily, no one was injured.

2. Call 911

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When her local Subway put the wrong kind of sauce on her sandwich and refused to make her a new one, Bevalente Hall was determined to right the wrong. She dialed 911 and reported the malicious use of marinara—pizza sauce was her preference—and demanded the presence of an officer immediately. The officer that arrived promptly arrested Hall for misuse of the 911 system, jailed her for three minutes, and released her on a $2000 bond.

You can hear the call here

3. Call 911 three times.

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In 2009, Latreasa Goodman walked into a McDonald’s in Fort Pierce, Florida, and ordered chicken nuggets. After she paid for said nuggets, Goodman was told that the restaurant had actually just run out. She asked for her money back, but employees denied her, trying to sell her a McDouble instead. Goodman called 911. The first dispatcher suggested that Goodman talk to a manager, but promised to send someone. After she called back a third time, an officer finally arrived and charged Goodman with misuse of 911. McDonald’s corporate offices said that a refund should have been issued and said they were sending her a gift card.

4. Throw the food ... then call 911.

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Breakfast enthusiasts Michael and Nova Smith ordered early-morning value meals at McDonald’s in Mesa, Arizona. When they received their bags, the Smiths noticed that something was terribly, terribly awry: Their hashbrowns were missing. Not just one of the hashbrowns. Both of the hashbrowns. Enraged at this injustice, Nova threw the meals at the cashiers while Michael dialed 911. “I was barely able to hold myself back,” Michael said. “If not for the 911 call operator holding me back, I probably would have went berserk.” Because employees were hit with food, the couple was charged with assault.

5. Get in a SWAT Team shootout.

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In 2011, a Taco Bell in San Antonio ended the promotion they were having on the Beefy Crunch Burrito, which raised the price from 99 cents to $1.49. Frequent customer Ricardo Jones discovered the price increase after ordering seven of the Beefy Crunch Burritos, and became so enraged at the higher bill that he shot at the drive-thru window cashier, then pulled out another handgun and an assault rifle and put them on the roof of his car. He didn’t use them at Taco Bell, though. Jones was found at a hotel two miles away where he engaged in a four-hour shootout with the SWAT team. He was finally forced out of his room with tear gas and arrested.

6. Ram the car in front of you in the drive-thru.

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Timothy Braddee, Jr., had such an Arby’s craving in 2010 that he couldn’t wait for the slowpoke in front of him in line. After placing his order, Braddee began flashing his high beams at the car in front of him, then rammed the vehicle with his SUV. The customer moved aside, then immediately contacted the manager. Braddee, now at the coveted food-dispensing window, was told that he couldn’t harass customers. He responded by pointing a loaded rifle at the manager, then driving away, presumably without the food that he so desperately wanted. Police later found Braddee passed out at his home with a blood alcohol level of .191.

7. Impersonate a cop.

In March, Austin Schoor got excessively angry when he received the wrong order at a Palm Beach, Florida, Burger King. His reaction was so extreme that managers threatened to call the police—which is when Schoor said, “Call the police. I’m an officer.” The manager called his bluff, which is when the real police got involved. Schoor amended his story, saying that he actually had been a member of the West Palm Beach Fire Rescue, not the police. Police called the West Palm Beach Fire Rescue, who said that Schoor had not worked for them in more than a year. He was arrested and released on $1000 bail.

8. Get hot under the collar over hot sauce.

Apparently no one told Jeremy Combs that getting hot sauce packets at Taco Bell is as easy as asking for them. When Combs noticed his drive-thru order was missing the spicy condiment, he pulled a 12-gauge shotgun on the cashier at the window. He didn’t fire, and was arrested at his aunt’s house two hours later, still intoxicated.

9. Refuse to leave the drive-thru.

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Last summer, Kimberly Womack pulled up to a McDonald’s with an infallible ruse to collect free breakfast. Though it was 6:30am, she requested two Big Macs. When the cashier responded that they didn’t make breakfast Big Macs, Womack demanded two free Egg McMuffins instead. The manager refused, but Womack stood her ground at the drive-thru for more than 10 minutes. Deputies eventually approached her car; she informed them that her rights were being violated. Upon her arrest, she was probably surprised to learn that “free Egg McMuffins” is not right up there with freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

10. Threaten to assume your ultimate form.

Melodi Dushane knows what it’s like to crave the wrong menu at the wrong hour. When she was refused chicken nuggets during breakfast hours at an East Toledo, Ohio, McDonald’s, Dushane got out of her car and hissed at the drive-thru attendant, then reached through the window and punched her in the face. She eventually shattered the window, but only after spewing forth all sorts of unlikely threats. Here’s the video. There’s some salty language. Goes great with fries.

Afternoon Map
From Snoopy to Shark Bait: The Top Slang Word in Each State

There’s a minute, and then there’s a hot minute. Defined as “a longish amount of time,” this unit of time is familiar to Alabamians but may stir up confusion beyond the state’s borders.

It’s Louisianans, though, who feel the “most misunderstood,” according to the results of a survey regarding regional slang by PlayNJ. Of the Louisiana residents surveyed, 72 percent said their fellow Americans from other states—even neighboring ones—have a hard time grasping their lingo. Some learned the hard way that ordering a burger “dressed” (with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo) isn’t universally understood, nor is the phrase “to pass a good time” (instead of “to have” a good time).

After surveying 2000 people (with proportional numbers from each state), PlayNJ created a map showing the top slang word in each state. Many are words that are unlikely to be understood beyond state lines, but others—like California’s bomb (something you really like) and New York’s deadass (to be completely serious)—have spread well beyond their respective borders thanks to memes and internet culture.

Hawaiians are also known for their distinctive slang words, with 71 percent reporting that words like shaka (hello) and poho (waste of time) are frequently misunderstood. Shark bait, one of the state’s more colorful terms, refers to tourists who are so pale that they attract sharks.

Check out the full list below and test your knowledge of regional slang words with PlayNJ’s online quiz.

A chart showing the top slang words in each state
Illustration by Mental Floss / Images: iStock
The Body
10 Facts About the Appendix
Illustration by Mental Floss / Images: iStock
Illustration by Mental Floss / Images: iStock

Despite some 500 years of study, the appendix might be one of the least understood structures in the human body. Here's what we know about this mysterious organ.


The human appendix is small, tube-shaped, and squishy, giving ancient Egyptians, who encountered it when preparing bodies for funerary rites, the impression of a worm. Even today, some medical texts refer to the organ as vermiform—Latin for "worm-like."


The earliest description of a human appendix was written by the Renaissance physician-anatomist Jacopo Berengario da Carpi in 1521. But before that, Leonardo da Vinci is believed to drawn the first depiction of the organ in his anatomical drawings in 1492. Leonardo claimed to have dissected 30 human corpses in his effort to understand the way the body worked from mechanical and physiological perspectives.


The appendix is a small pouch connected to the cecum—the beginning of the large intestine in the lower right-hand corner of your abdomen. The cecum’s job is to receive undigested food from the small intestine, absorb fluids and salts that remain after food is digested, and mix them with mucus for easier elimination; according to Mohamad Abouzeid, M.D., assistant professor and attending surgeon at NYU Langone Medical Center, the cecum and appendix have similar tissue structures.


The appendix has an ill-deserved reputation as a vestigial organ—meaning that it allegedly evolved without a detectable function—and we can blame Charles Darwin for that. In the mid-19th century, the appendix had been identified only in humans and great apes. Darwin thought that our earlier ancestors ate mostly plants, and thus needed a large cecum in which to break down the tough fibers. He hypothesized that over time, apes and humans evolved to eat a more varied and easier-to-digest diet, and the cecum shrank accordingly. The appendix itself, Darwin believed, emerged from the folds of the wizened cecum without its own special purpose.


The proximity and tissue similarities between the cecum and appendix suggest that the latter plays a part in the digestive process. But there’s one noticeable difference in the appendix that you can see only under a microscope. “[The appendix] has a high concentration of the immune cells within its walls,” Abouzeid tells Mental Floss.

Recent research into the appendix's connection to the immune system has suggested a few theories. In a 2015 study in Nature Immunology, Australian researchers discovered that a type of immune cells called innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) proliferate in the appendix and seem to encourage the repopulation of symbiotic bacteria in the gut. This action may help the gut recover from infections, which tend to wipe out fluids, nutrients, and good bacteria.

For a 2013 study examining the evolutionary rationale for the appendix in mammal species, researchers at Midwestern University and Duke University Medical Center concluded that the organ evolved at least 32 times among different lineages, but not in response to dietary or environmental factors.

The same researchers analyzed 533 mammal species for a 2017 study and found that those with appendices had more lymphatic (immune) tissue in the cecum. That suggests that the nearby appendix could serve as "a secondary immune organ," the researchers said in a statement. "Lymphatic tissue can also stimulate growth of some types of beneficial gut bacteria, providing further evidence that the appendix may serve as a 'safe house' for helpful gut bacteria." This good bacteria may help to replenish healthy flora in the gut after infection or illness.


For such a tiny organ, the appendix gets infected easily. According to Abouzeid, appendicitis occurs when the appendix gets plugged by hardened feces (called a fecalith or appendicolith), too much mucus, or the buildup of immune cells after a viral or bacterial infection. In the United States, the lifetime risk of getting appendicitis is one in 15, and incidence in newly developed countries is rising. It's most common in young adults, and most dangerous in the elderly.

When infected, the appendix swells up as pus fills its interior cavity. It can grow several times larger than its average 3-inch size: One inflamed appendix removed from a British man in 2004 measured just over 8 inches, while another specimen, reported in 2007 in the Journal of Clinical Pathology, measured 8.6 inches. People with appendicitis might feel generalized pain around the bellybutton that localizes on the right side of the abdomen, and experience nausea or vomiting, fever, or body aches. Some people also get diarrhea.


Treatment for appendicitis can go two ways: appendectomy, a.k.a. surgical removal of the appendix, or a first line of antibiotics to treat the underlying infection. Appendectomies are more than 99 percent effective against recurring infection, since the organ itself is removed. (There have been cases of "stump appendicitis," where an incompletely removed appendix becomes infected, which often require further surgery.)

Studies show that antibiotics produce about a 72 percent initial success rate. “However, if you follow these patients out for about a year, they often get recurrent appendicitis,” Abouzeid says. One 2017 study in the World Journal of Surgery followed 710 appendicitis patients for a year after antibiotic treatment and found a 26.5 percent recurrence rate for subsequent infections.


You might imagine a ruptured appendix, known formally as a perforation, being akin to the "chestbuster" scene in Alien. Abouzeid says it's not quite that dramatic, though it can be dangerous. When the appendix gets clogged, pressure builds inside the cavity of the appendix, called the lumen. That chokes off blood supply to certain tissues. “The tissue dies off and falls apart, and you get perforation,” Abouzeid says. But rather than exploding, the organ leaks fluids that can infect other tissues.

A burst appendix is a medical emergency. Sometimes the body can contain the infection in an abscess, Abouzeid says, which may be identified through CT scans or X-rays and treated with IV antibiotics. But if the infection is left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the abdomen, a serious condition called peritonitis. At that point, the infection can become life-threatening.


In 1894, Charles McBurney, a surgeon at New York's Roosevelt Hospital, popularized an open-cavity, muscle-splitting technique [PDF] to remove an infected appendix, which is now called an open appendectomy. Surgeons continued to use McBurney's method until the advent of laparoscopic surgery, a less invasive method in which the doctor makes small cuts in the patient's abdomen and threads a thin tube with a camera and surgical tools into the incisions. The appendix is removed through one of those incisions, which are usually less than an inch in length.

The first laparoscopic appendectomies were performed by German physician Kurt Semm in the early 1980s. Since then, laparoscopic appendectomies have become the standard treatment for uncomplicated appendicitis. For more serious infections, open appendectomies are still performed.


When the future King Edward VII of Great Britain came down with appendicitis (or "perityphlitis," as it was called back then) in June 1902, mortality rates for the disease were as high as 26 percent. It was about two weeks before his scheduled coronation on June 26, 1902, and Edward resisted having an appendectomy, which was then a relatively new procedure. But surgeon and appendicitis expert Frederick Treves made clear that Edward would probably die without it. Treves drained Edward's infected abscess, without removing the organ, at Buckingham Palace; Edward recovered and was crowned on August 9, 1902.


On August 26, 2006, during an autopsy at a Zagreb, Croatia hospital, surgeons obtained a 10.24-inch appendix from 72-year-old Safranco August. The deceased currently holds the Guinness World Record for "largest appendix removed."


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