The family of a 6-year-old who was given peanut butter at a Panera Bread restaurant after her father specified her severe peanut allergy filed a lawsuit against the company and several of its franchises.
John Russo used Panera Bread's online system to order a grilled cheese sandwich for his daughter and noted in two places on the order that she was allergic to peanut butter. When he arrived home from his job, he and his wife both realized that their daughter had bitten into a sandwich that contained a large amount of peanut butter.
"Am I going to die?" the girl asked her parents as they called her doctor. She wasn't showing any serious symptoms, however, so the doctor advised them to give her Benadryl.
The girl soon started vomiting, prompting her mother, Elissa, to take her to the hospital. Later that night, Elissa texted her husband to let him know that they were about to be discharged. Before that happened, the girl suddenly began getting hives all over her body.
Russo said that he called Panera the night of the incident and spoke to a manager, who apologized and blamed it on a "language" issue, the Boston Globe reported.
"Is this somebody doing this on purpose? Because it’s two freakin’ tablespoons of peanut butter on this sandwich and it’s a grilled cheese," Russo asked the manager, who doubled down on the claim that somebody with a language barrier must have misunderstood the instructions on the order.
Many readers questioned the company's excuse for the incident, saying that if it was a language issue they should require their employees to be well-versed in the English language to prevent such situations.
"And here is just one more reason to DEMAND that people are educated in the English language ... This child could very well have died because of this ... One more JUST argument on immigration... You want to live here, fine ... Learn the language, understand it, I chose to hold the establishment responsible for what could have been a tragedy," one Mad World News reader commented on the site's Facebook page.
"Amen to that English only in America we cater too much to all these illegal immigrants is pathetic they're bound to kill some people and a lot of people thank God your daughter's fine and I applaud you for suing that place may God bless you and your family," another wrote.
"Absolutely agree with the father, if you cannot speak or write English you should not be hired. I found that in my job as well, an employee was hired that could not read English or speak English only Spanish. It was so difficult for her to do her job st a English-speaking place of business other people had to do her job, which pissed me off. She was making the same amount of salary as I was but could not do her job. Employers are in such a rush to hire an immigrant that can't do the job just to look like they are on top of everything," another added.