Claim: Customer becomes sick after eating a steak at a chain restaurant; analysis of her meal reveals the presence of human urine in the meat.
Example:[Collected on the Internet, 2001]
Oh girl do I have a story for you . . . make sure you tell everyone . . . I want this place to go out of business . . .
Okay, a guy here at work went out to eat to an eating establishment with a few friends and their wives.
One of the wives ordered a steak well done.
To make a long story short she ended up having to send the steak back 4 times because each time it came back bloody. By the time she had to send it back all those times she was not really hungry, ate a few bites and asked for a doggy bag to take the rest home.
Well, she got sick that night. So sick her husband took her to the Emergency Room at Carle.
There she had to have her stomach pumped. The doctors asked her where she had eaten, what she had eaten. After telling the doctor, the doctor asked if by chance they brought some home. The husband said yes and went home to get it so they could take tests on it in their lab.
After taking the steak to the lab . . . it came back positive with human urine on it!
The lady has to have tests every 3-6 months now for disease for the next 6 years! The husband said he would own the restaurant or will put them out of business. They have a big lawsuit going I guess. They are doing DNA on the steak to find out who urinated on it.
Oh . . . the restaurant was The Outback in CHAMPAIGN! Isn't that just GROSS! I would be so mad and a lawsuit would not be my stopping point either! Makes you stop and think next time before sending your food back to the kitchen!
The rumor spread to include Timber Lodge Steakhouses in Mankato and St. Cloud, both in Minnesota.
Some versions add the detail that the sickened victim returns to the restaurant to confront its management and is offered $10,000 to remain silent.
Origins: Urban legends involving adulterated
foods used to feature the discovery of worms, disgusting animals, or even human body parts
in foods purchased by customers at stores or restaurants, with the offending substance having been included through negligence or a careless lack of cleanliness on the part of the producer or preparer. Now the vogue seems to be the finding of yucky bodily fluids (such as semen) in the remnants of meals consumed by restaurant patrons who have fallen ill, said yucky fluids having been "placed" there out of spite by employees whom the customers have managed to annoy or offend.
This one fails the credibility test for most of the same reasons as similar tales about hapless customers made sick by the addition of semen to their meals. (Just picture the physician in the emergency room: "Run this steak down to the lab and have it checked for salmonella, botulism, and e.coli. Oh, and uh . . . just in case, urine.") The premises just don't ring true — the thought of ingesting urine (or semen) might make someone sick, but urine itself isn't necessarily harmful or toxic. Drinking urine isn't a particularly good idea, but outside of some extraordinary condition (such as an allergic reaction), the notion that someone would become violently ill simply from having eaten a few bites of a steak sprinkled with urine is extremely improbable.
The clue to this one is probably given in the first line: "I want this place to go out of business." That's likely an honest motive, accompanied by a disingenuous reason. Unfortunately, the scheme seems to be working on some innocent victims:
"We have received calls asking about the rumor. It's just terrible. We've built a beautiful restaurant in Mankato, and we're absolutely finicky about quality assurance," said Siobhan Olson of the public relations office for Timber Lodge.
"These kinds of legends have caused serious damage to a number of companies through the years. The rumors apparently spread rapidly in communities where there's a large university," Olson said. "The rumor has already leaked up to the St. Cloud area."
She said the persistent and vicious nature of the rumor has already caused a slight decline in business at the Mankato Timber Lodge.1
Last updated: 28 January 2007
1. Krohn, Tim. "Steak Story Is Just a Taste of Urban Myth."
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
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