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Former Las Vegas McDonald's employee arrested for spitting in customer's coffee

Posted at 3:56 PM, Jul 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 19:07:43-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — During the height of the pandemic, when stay-at-home orders were in full effect and you couldn't walk into a restaurant, a McDonald's customer got a nasty surprise after visiting a drive-thru.

It's a story 13 investigates first broke nearly a year and a half ago.

This week, police finally made an arrest, sending the message that if you spit in someone's drink, you can go to jail — never mind how much time has passed.

Forty-nine-year-old Felicia O'Neal found that out the hard way on July 4 when she was pulled over for driving without headlights and police discovered a warrant for her arrest — a warrant that had been issued a year ago.

SEE IT FOR YOURSELF: Declaration of Warrant for ex-McDonald's employee

The former McDonald's worker is charged with adulterating food in the wake of our February 2021 investigation.

"This actually happens to people. It happened to me!" customer Cynthia Baer told 13 Investigates in an exclusive interview last year.

Baer had visited the drive-thru of her local McDonald's, an independently owned franchise on Tropicana Avenue and Jones Boulevard, in December of 2020. She said she was there to treat her kids to some fries and a strawberry shake.

"And I like to get a coffee," she added.

Baer ordered an iced sugar-free French vanilla latte. But that day, her usual drive-thru experience turned out to be anything but.

"She (the employee at the drive-thru) cut me off halfway through my order, and I said, 'I'm not done ordering. I want to still order my drink.' And she goes, 'Well, it's too late to order.'"

Baer asked to speak with a supervisor, "and he said he would take care of it and to pull forward and they would get my order. And then they said — which I thought was curious — 'your drink's not ready, so you need to go to the third window.'"

Curious, but not yet concerned, she drank the iced coffee — only to get a nasty surprise when she was nearly finished.

"When I felt that texture — it's a slimy, jelly-like texture in your mouth. And you know what that is, and it's definitely not coffee," Baer said. "I could see there was a lot more in the bottom of the cup, and it was a pretty large amount that was in my mouth."

Baer's coffee contained mucous and saliva she believed came from Felicia O'Neal, the McDonald's employee she had words with at the drive-thru.

"To me, it's like a threat on your life. It really is," Baer said.

At the time of incident in Dec. 2020, "we're all walking around wearing masks, social distancing, not going to school, working from home, and this person has the audacity to spit directly into something that you're going to drink. It is so dangerous," she said.

An insurance adjuster working for McDonald's (in a phone call recorded by both sides) told Baer about the surveillance video of the incident.

"The angle's not very clear, but she acknowledged it. So to me, video or not, she said she did that," the insurance agent said.

"I felt violated!" Baer exclaimed. "I felt absolutely violated and I had concern about what you could potentially get from ingesting someone's spit. Here you have a frontline restaurant worker who is choosing to be reckless...knowing they are at a very high risk for COVID."

The risk soon became real.

"I realized that I was having symptoms from COVID. I got very sick, got tested, and it was positive," Baer said.

Baer got tested on Dec. 27, five days after drinking the contaminated coffee.

When our report first aired, McDonald's told 13 Investigates no one was available for an on-camera interview.

The franchise owner sent a statement which says, in part:

"When we learned of the incident, we took the appropriate steps necessary to investigate the matter and immediately contacted local health authorities. The employee in question is no longer with our organization... We have apologized to the customer... in this unacceptable incident and are taking action to ensure that this doesn't happen again."

Felicia O'Neal's bail was set at $5,000 and she has bonded out of jail. The next court date in the case is July 18.

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