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Many people are familiar by now with the incident in the news where a woman claimed to have found a human finger in her chili at Wendy’s. This incident took place in my home town of San Jose, California, and the San Jose Police arrested the woman in question (Anna Ayala) last week for perpetrating a hoax. She has been charged with attempted grand theft for the enormous financial loss that Wendy’s has suffered as a result of this hoax and its publicity.

The location where this took place has suffered tremendously, to the point that they had to cut back hours for their employees. To draw back customers, all the Wendy’s locations in the Bay Area were giving away free Frosties this past weekend. Kyle and I are so enraged by this fraud that we decided to eat at Wendy’s yesterday to show our support for the company.

As it happens, the Wendy’s closest to us geographically is THE very restaurant where this finger incident took place. What better place to go to show our support? I decided to log our lunch adventure.


The Wendy’s in question on Monterey in San Jose. Hmm, doesn’t look like business is too bad today.


Things are looking good on the inside, too. The dining room was full.



No free Frosties for us, but I did decide to have chili, just for principle’s sake. It was very tasty. No human body parts detected.


The chicken sandwich is very good, too. Crispy whole chicken breast. Mmm.


Our receipt, just to prove we went to the Monterey Wendy’s. Our lovely cashier was Adelaida, who seemed very bemused by my picture-taking.

All in all a nice lunch. The menu is quite large now, and includes lots of chicken options as well as burgers. Baked potatoes and salads are still a staple, along with the chili and Frosties. I’ll have to go back again soon. I forgot how much I like it.

Addendum: A couple of comments raised the question of where the finger came from, and a brief report in the news recently about someone who lost a finger and had come forward for DNA testing.

60 miles away from Las Vegas lives a woman named Sandy Allman. She had a pet leopard which bit off part of her finger on Feb 23. Doctors were not able to reattach it, but the finger itself went missing from the hospital and was not recovered. Allman has come forward and volunteered for DNA testing to see if it is her finger that wound up in the Chili.

Authorities are dubious of a connection between these two incidents. It also seems a bit of a reach to me. But if police could place Ayala in that same hospital at the time Allman was there, it is possible that somehow Ayala discovered and stole the detached finger, perhaps from an unattended room or something like that.

Again, one has to question the motive. Would Ayala have seen the finger and thought, “Hmm, I bet I could defraud someone with this.” Or perhaps it was already on her mind to engage in some kind of restaurant contamination fraud and the opportunity presented itself.

I have not seen any further news on Sandy Allman. Wendy’s has doubled their reward to $100,000 for information leading to the positive ID of the finger’s origin.

43 Responses to “Wendy'sblogging: Report From Ground (Beef) Zero”
  1. Van Helsing says:

    It would be nice if they could build an extortion case against Anna Ayala. Extortion was probably the idea; a dragged-out lawsuit would have cost Wendy’s a fortune in lost business, not to mention legal fees. No doubt Ayala would have offered to go sue someone else for a big enough payoff. Time to reign in the greedy lawyers who created this state of affairs.

  2. Kyle Haight says:

    My guess is that what she was hoping for was not a lawsuit, but a quick settlement. She wanted Wendy’s to pay her 50 grand or something to make it all ‘go away’. But the incident as reported was so lurid that the story went national, at which point the quick settlement approach was no longer possible. Wendy’s had to do a full investigation, and Ayala’s story couldn’t stand up to the resulting scrutiny.

  3. Ayn Rand Dating says:

    I think there are a lot of us who feel this way, and I hope Wendy’s gets a nice lift from the sympathetic publicity. I’ve taken to visiting Wendy’s every now and then for a bowl of “Justice Chili,” just to help remedy the injustice that was done to a good company.

    Joshua Zader

  4. Just Wonderin says:

    so where the heck does one get a finger for such a scam. That’s what I want to know.

  5. Hoodlumman says:

    Isn’t there a catalogue called Fingerhut?

  6. Kyle Haight says:

    I suspect that’s what the corporate and police investigators would like to know as well. It’s the most obvious unanswered question about the whole incident.

  7. CraigC says:

    Hey Anne, my wife and I also live near that Wendy’s. We’re in the Arcadia neighborhood off Branham and Snell. How ’bout you?

  8. mickey says:

    Hi, I’m new here having just zipped over from Instapundit. I am a little confused by your URL. If you are indeed a “Leftist” you have somehow falled off the train and need to be rescued. To begin with: cut out the meat; animals have lives. You really shouldn’t support such an outfit as “Wendys” (such a sweet sounding name who do they think they are fooling?) an organization which not only takes lives but also pays poverty wages. Do they provide health insurance from day one? Check on it.
    Also, I think Anna was trying to make a statement and I along with anyone else who calls herself a “Leftist” should support her. What better way to punish the corporate railroaders that to hurt them with bad publicity. I hope this settles the matter and I hope Anna gets the support she needs.

  9. mikem says:

    “I think Anna was trying to make a statement”

    Fraud is wrong for thee, but not for me.

  10. Pogo says:

    Good for you folks.

    But god forbid we should ever reform the tort system in this country. Otherwise, how would the lawyers redistribute the national income and create social justice?

  11. Kirby says:

    Wow, all lefties are vegan liars? I’m pretty conservative and I don’t think I would go that far.

    I eat at Wendy’s about once a week. Spicy chicken sandwich or a jr. bacon cheesburger are my favorites. Used to get the big bacon classic combo, but after watching “Super Size Me” I went to the jr. and cut out the fries. :-)

  12. pp says:

    Mickey…I hope that was sarcasm and if not….

    As Mr. Boortz would say…You do not work at Wendy’s et al as a career its for teenagers to earn a wage, learn responsibility.

    So on that level, there is no need to pay a Wendy’s employee $15 an hour and give them insurance. Anyways, what job pays insurance on day one?? I, like probably everyone else who works for a real company has to wait at least 60 days, it not 90 before getting insurance.

    Fingerhut….LOLOLOL

  13. Carstairs says:

    I heard that the police were going to do DNA testing on the finger in question and the woman insisted on being tested as well because she thought it might be her finger that had been cut off and not reattached. When last seen, said finger was in a hospital that doesn’t know where it currently is….

    Never heard a follow up on that, however.

  14. mark says:

    No chance Ms. Ayala could get jail time? I’d imagine her jailors would have hours of fun with her and food.

    Would she sue the jail if she found a rusty shiv in her back?

    I jest, she is not a violent offender, but a court ordered community workforce placement, might be the remedy.

    Maybe have her clean the toilets at the Wendy’s to the manager’s satisfaction?

  15. JSAllison says:

    I’d eat at Wendys more frequently if they’d actually cook their fries instead of just aggressively thawing them. ;)

  16. ed says:

    “I’d eat at Wendys more frequently if they’d actually cook their fries instead of just aggressively thawing them.”

    I concur

  17. ryan says:

    “so where the heck does one get a finger for such a scam. That’s what I want to know.”

    Wasn’t this whole thing the plot of “The Big Lebowski”?

  18. mock,ingbird says:

    I’d like a finger sandwich, biggie fries and
    sweet tea, please

  19. Anne Haight says:

    mickey
    Hi, I’m new here having just zipped over from Instapundit. I am a little confused by your URL. If you are indeed a “Leftist” you have somehow falled off the train and need to be rescued.

    Clearly another poor soul who fails to grasp the inherent humor of a conservative/Objectivist blog having a domain like “leftist.org”.

    Yes, we own the domain. Kyle picked it up many years ago and parked it on the theory that one day, it might be useful.

    And a little more bluntly for those of you who don’t get it: The domain name is funny. It’s called irony.

    As for your silly tirade about Wendy’s and “OMG EATING MEAT IS EVIL AND THEY EXPLOIT THEIR EMPLOYEES”, I have commented at length on other occasions on that issue and have no intention of doing so again here.

    Also, I think Anna was trying to make a statement and I along with anyone else who calls herself a “Leftist” should support her. What better way to punish the corporate railroaders that to hurt them with bad publicity. I hope this settles the matter and I hope Anna gets the support she needs.

    Nauseating. Do you know who really suffers from fraud like this? The employees, down to the bottom rung at the restaurants, who get laid off or their hours cut back because of the dropoff in business. The CEO is probably not having any trouble meeting his mortgage payments or feeding his kids as a result of this bad publicity. No, it’s the little guy who gets hurt by people like Anna Ayala. She’s also being detained on a fugitive warrant from an incident 3 years ago where she tried to sell a mobile home she didn’t own, and bilked the poor “buyer” out of $11,000.

    Yeah, a real humanitarian.

  20. Jim says:

    The best part of all this is how truly dim this whole scheme is… more on that here:

    http://www.letterfromcalifornia.com

  21. David Bailey says:

    I’ve always liked Wendy’s and was happy to see a new one open close to my house. Now I can’t eat there without thinking of that nasty finger scandal. I know that this has been declared a hoax and that the woman involved has tried variations of this shake down on other companies. But I get this creepy feeling when I even consider ordering a bowl of chili from Wendy’s. And I’m ashamed to admit it.

  22. Walter Sobcheck says:

    You want a toe? I can get you a toe, believe me. There are ways, Dude. You don’t wanna know about it, believe me.

    Hell, I can get you a toe by 3 o’clock this afternoon… with nail polish.

  23. JSinger says:

    And a little more bluntly for those of you who don’t get it: The domain name is funny. It’s called irony.

    Err, I think that’s actually not irony. But, then, I can never get that one straight. It’s like a No Smoking sign on your cigarette break…

  24. Mike says:

    The sad and untold story is these kinds of “shakedown” lawsuits happed every day, many times per day. Poeple fall in parking lots every day, or pretend to fall, or whatever, and then demand $500K for their pre-existing back problem.
    I hope her arrest deters at least a few of them from making bogus claims for fear of arrest, and maybe it also enlightens a few potential jurors that not every plaintiff is telling the truth.
    As is stands now there is ZERO penalty for filing a bogus lawsuit, the worst that can happen is that it gets dismissed. 90% of even the bogus suits get some kind of cash settlement to make them “go away”.
    Signed, an atty.

  25. Ken Bolland says:

    If “mickey” came over from Instapundit, he is unlikely to hold the views he pretends to hold in his posting. I would say that THAT is an example of “irony”.

  26. MyssiAnn says:

    Umm, pp, I’m not advocating Wendy’s as a career job and I know it’s not normal in other fields, but I work for a healthcare system and our employees all get insurance from day one. I suppose it’s because we are self-insured and knowingly expose our employees to communicable disease as part of their jobs. Just answering your question about who gets insured on day one.
    I do think its a good thing that this woman is being both punished and exposed as a fraud. Needs to be done more often, I think. And I was glad to hear that Wendy’s was aggressively investigating rather than caving. We’ve become too litigious in this country, I think.
    Where did that finger come from??? My personal theory is that Ms. Ayala has a friend who works at a funeral home and offered said friend a portion of any settlement for obtaining a fingertip from a body. If the friend were smart he would get it from a decedent who is to be cremated. But, get real, in this country we count people’s fingers and toes at birth, not before we bury them.

  27. GaijinBiker says:

    Your sidebar doesn’t show up on the permalink page, only the main page.

  28. Kyle Haight says:

    Oops, you’re right. Guess you have to click “Main” and then go check out the other stuff. D’oh!

  29. G. Hamid says:

    Hilarious post. I’ve been to Wendy’s about 4 times in the last 15 years. Amazingly, today was one of them.

    But part of the post makes me feel like I’m stuck in a time warp. I could’ve sworn that two weeks ago ABC News reported that Sandy Allman lost 3/4″ of her finger, but the finger in the chile was 1 1/2″ long.

    Of course we still don’t where it came from.

  30. JD says:

    Man…seeing the photos of that Wendy’s brings back memories of the old daze at SJSU – Mucho food, poquito dinero.

    I hope that the Wendy’s corporate puts some serious effort into rehabilitating this franchisee who got seriously hosed on this one.

    As to the finger’s identity, I would think it would have come from somewhere in the Valley or the Central Coast. I would shudder to think what would happen if you were transporting your dismembered finger from Las Vegas to San Jose and the TSA just happened to thoroughly inspect your baggage….

  31. Andyzero says:

    I was suspicious from the start. (Somewhat gross reasoning ahead.)

    Nobody was saying the finger was that of any of the employees, so it would of had to have been in the packaging. Wouldn’t being immersed in chili have caused the “meat” of the finguer to slough off? Just leaving a bone or something?

  32. JD says:

    I seriously could have used that finger at the DMV office down the street a couple of times, tho…

  33. Mike James says:

    Want to know what people working the order counter at Wendy’s think is really tedious?

    Asking them for a large size order of chicken fingers.

  34. Sam_S (ShenzhenRen) says:

    and I along with anyone else who calls herself a “Leftist” should support her.

    Okay, Mickey, here’s the statement of support: ALL LEFTISTS SUPPORT EXTORTION AND FRAUD, MICKEY SAYS SO!

    Feel better now?

    By the way, you can have my right little finger for $100,000, if you want to make a statement of your own.

  35. onethumb says:

    A side salad, Biggie Iced Tea and a chive potato is a great _vegitarian_ meal at Wendy’s. Meanwhile your company can have all the meat they like.

    Finding Restaurants that provide this seem to be a little short. Far easier to say “I’m on a diet” than to get into the Vegitarian/vegan routine. Too Political…damn PETA. Used to be good health.

    Jack La Lanne…

    OT

  36. The Lonewacko Blog says:

    The leopard finger lady has been found to have nothing to do with the case.

    More here. The finger was apparently not cooked.

  37. Inspector says:

    During my career in public health I had to track down all kinds of complaints regarding foreign objects in food. I was the mean and nasty guy from government who arrived to kick butt if it was justified. Even at a local Wendy’s, once. Such complaints are all too common and proved to be in a vast majority of cases [95 %] bogus. Businesses are an easy mark who generally “settle” out of court because their insurance companies so choose, to avoid the protracted litigation. Because that is general policy they get hammered. They are not mean and nasty corporate giants exploiting the masses and bringing ruination to us all. Quite the opposite is true. Since their livelyhood depends upon satisfied customers, they are usually very forthcoming and usually very compassionate with any who they might have harmed due to a mistake. Besides, they do a lot of good at providing entry level and supplemental jobs, put out usually good and safe food, and are owned by franchisees who are totally invested in money, effort, and time. Though some complaints are valid and litigation may be justified, bogus litigation does much harm and in the end costs the consumers, employees, and franchisees, all so some parasite can live larger than they deserve. If the judicial system and juries fight back, and give the finger to some of these “poor victims” the problem will go away.
    Considering the volumes of food they move and the consequences of mistakes in general, especially among the chains, they do a very good job indeed. If they didn’t they would be out of business most quickly. My comments result solely from respect the industry has earned in my professional oversight of them during my career.

  38. RebeccaH says:

    I’m buying the funeral home theory myself. It’s the most logical place, and who’s going to check?

    I found a rotted mouse head sealed in a bag of radishes once. I didn’t sue anybody. I just threw the bag away. And didn’t eat radishes for a while.

  39. Walter E. Wallis says:

    The Governator actually has a solution to cases like these – any recovery in a lawsuit beyond actual loss would be taxed at 70%. Before the lawyer got anything.

  40. Walter Socek says:

    You want a finger? I can get ‘cha a finger by 4 0′clock this afternoon…with nail polish! There are ways, Dude. You don’t wanna know about ‘em!

  41. confused says:

    How does one go about getting a extra finger?
    Maybe she has access to a crematorium or a morgue,or maybe someone is missing a family member.

  42. Tom says:

    Kyle – I live half a mile from, and work across the street from, the Kohl’s where this actually happened over the weekend. Somebody cut their finger off on the custard machine, *didn’t turn it off* while they went for help, and a customer got the finger in her pint.

    You can show me the Wendy’s when I’m in town in August. :)

  43. Anonymous says:

    maybe thatis the finger that the lady put in the chili.

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