A sundae with everything, including instant culpability.

A Delaware woman has filed suit against a McDonald’s franchisee, on the grounds that her son’s sundae had blood drizzled on the top.

According to court documents, Jara bought food, including four hot fudge sundaes, at the restaurant’s drive-thru window on Dec. 30, 2004.

Her son, now 13, dug into his sundae and “recognized the taste of blood and, upon careful inspection, noted a red substance on the side of the sundae cup as well as mixed into his ice cream,” the lawsuit claims.

Jara then went into the store and spoke to a swing manager, who confirmed that it was blood, according to the lawsuit. The manager, Joshua Ferrell, said the employee who prepared the sundae had an injured, bleeding finger, and told Jara that he had advised the employee to keep a bandage on his finger, according to the lawsuit.

Here’s where it gets interesting:

Michael Meoli, owner of the McDonald’s franchise, said the claims are unfounded, and that strawberry syrup probably had clogged the sundae machine.

Ferrell, who no longer works at the restaurant, should not have said the substance was blood, Meoli said.

What is he, a botanist? No, he’s a 21-year-old assistant manager who saw her screaming in the lobby and said ‘whatever you say lady.’

I’m lovin’ it! There may still be some issues in court (or more likely in settlement) because of that statement, as someone in management ought to know better than to make a statement like that.

Two lessons here:

  • Don’t say things like the kid said, for legal reasons.
  • Do say things like the franchisee said — short, to the point, and even somewhat aggressive when warranted.

Meoli was also right to end with this…

“I hope she gets the same thing the Wendy’s lady got,” he said, referring to a woman recently sentenced to nine years in prison for planting a severed finger in a bowl of Wendy’s chili to extort money from the fast-food chain.

…if for no other reason than to remind the public that many of these claims are unfounded.

Bonus look-see: Will McDonalds address franchisee issues like this on its brand-spanking new “Corporate Responsibility Blog?”