NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – Going to McDonald’s for a Diet Coke is usually a routine trip for Nicole Eliason, but Wednesday’s stop is one she’ll never forget, even though she desperately wants to.
Eliason had just dropped her kids off at school Wednesday morning when she stopped by McDonald’s at Hazel Dell Road and State Road 32 in Noblesville for a breakfast sandwich and a Diet Coke.
She ate the breakfast sandwich and then went to Kroger for some grocery shopping. After loading her groceries into her vehicle, she took another sip of her Diet Coke.
Nothing prepared her for what happened next.
“I took a big swig. My brain couldn’t identify what was in my mouth,” she told FOX59.
What Eliason’s brain couldn’t process was that her sip of Diet Coke came along with something extra: a worm.
“I sucked it up through the straw,” she said.
She immediately spit it out.
“I could not believe my eyes,” she said. “It’s a worm.”
Eliason didn’t know what to do next. But in very 2016 fashion, she decided to take pictures and post them on Facebook. After that, it was time for a trip back to McDonald’s.
“Oh my God. What just happened? I have to get back to the store,” she said. “This is unacceptable. How did this happen?”
Eliason talked to the manager and showed her the receipt showing her purchase, which was made at 8:44 a.m. on Wednesday at the drive thru. The manager showed concern but didn’t appear to know what to do. She went to get the store owner.
Eliason said the owner couldn’t do much other than offer a refund or, in jest, “free Diet Coke for life” (Eliason said he chuckled as he said it).
Given the current circumstances, Eliason didn’t care for that offer. She simply wanted to know how a worm ended up in the bottom of her fountain drink.
“Awful, awful, awful.”
She told FOX59 that she felt like her concerns were laughed off. The store owner did take the worm and tell her he’d send it off to corporate for testing and gave her his phone number.
But there’s a lot at stake for Eliason. After all, Diet Coke is her favorite drink. At least, it was.
“I won’t drink another McDonald’s Diet Coke for life. I’ll have to find an alternative flavor.”
McDonald’s Diet Coke, in particular, had her everlasting loyalty, or so she thought.
“It’s one of my favorites. There are Diet Coke hounds out there, you know, and we love that stuff.”
Elias said she doesn’t think she can bring herself to drink another Diet Coke. She hasn’t had much of an appetite since the incident.
“It makes me sick to my stomach [just thinking about it].”
As for McDonald’s, Eliason said it’s been a part of her family’s life for a long time. They’ve celebrated there and have many memories together.
That, too, is in jeopardy.
“We will not as a family be returning to McDonald’s,” she said. “We’re going to say, ‘Thanks but no thanks.’”
She didn’t realize the story would “blow up” on social media—her post has more than 3,600 shares—but if it gets the message out, she’s fine with it.
“The story needs to be told. Somebody has to be held accountable.”