McDonalds coffee

Ontario woman says she was scarred by McDonald's coffee

A quick stop for drinks at the McDonald's drive-thru became a harrowing experience for one family.

After hearing about how a Canadian is now taking McDonald's to court over a hot coffee incident, Elizabeth Hatim is sharing her story of pain and frustration.

According to Hatim, she was at an Oshawa, Ontario, McDonald's at Harmony and Taunton on July 12, 2021.

Hatim and her family went to the drive-thru and ordered five beverages, including a small coffee with milk and sugar on the side.

"When we pulled up to the pickup window to receive our order, the young lady at the window handed my husband, the driver, the tray," said Hatim.

"This employee put all four cold drinks in the beverage tray designed to hold only four drinks. She put the hot coffee in the middle, slanted between the four cold drinks, but this middle spot is not designed to hold a fifth drink," she said.

They thought the fifth cup was maybe filled with milk because they'd never received an over-laden tray like this before.

"We know at other fast-food places, when you ask for milk on the side, they will sometimes give it to you in a cup," said Hatim.

"My husband took the tray and passed it to me. This is when the hot coffee, which was not secured in the tray, spilled all over my legs," said Hatim.

"My brain didn’t register it at first as it seemed like an out-of-body experience. I could literally hear myself screaming in pain as if the sound was coming from someone else," she said.

"My scream was so loud that the employees that were in the drive-thru window all stopped what they were doing and looked over in alarm to see what had happened…I was in such excruciating pain," said Hatim.

Hatim says that the employees didn't do anything to help her. The apologetic shift manager, who reportedly said that the employee should have used another drink tray, gave them his business card and said they could report the incident later as the family was on its way to an appointment.

Following the incident, she took painkillers for days and used cold compression to manage the pain.

"I did sustain a scar, which I have been trying several products and treatments to lighten, but because it was becoming too expensive, I had to stop," said Hatim.

According to Hatim, she has been in touch with McDonald's for compensation, but their contact would "rarely return" phone calls or emails.

"When we finally did get in touch with him…he made a reference to an incident that happened to himself with McDonald's as well. He said he barely got anything in terms of compensation. He went on to say that if I were to take legal action, I wouldn’t get much either," said Hatim.

At the time, this dissuaded Hatim. Since then, she's been made to "suffer in silence, with a scar that will forever be a reminder of that awful painful day," says Hatim.

Now, she's interested in taking legal action and calls their response "unacceptable."

"McDonald's has their mission, values and ethical statements clearly defined and written out. But yet when an incident like mine happened, where were their beliefs and their values then?"

"No one should have to experience what I experienced…My advice, no matter how big or small a situation is, you are your own biggest advocate," said Hatim.

We have reached out to McDonald's for comment and will update this story.

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

In the US, legal precedence for a case like this includes the so-called infamous hot coffee case of Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants, which received a storm of media attention in the US in 1994.

Lead photo by

Marcus iStrfry

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