PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A Pensacola woman is outraged after she claims to have found a cigarette wrapped up alongside her soft taco from a Taco Bell in Escambia County.
Taura Helsel said she went to Taco Bell at 305 South Warrington Road Monday afternoon and ordered a chalupa meal, which comes with a soft taco.
Helsel said when she got home, she unwrapped the taco and found a slightly moist cigarette stuck to it. She had already fed some of the tacos to her infant daughter before she realized the cigarette was there.
“I don’t know if it was intentionally put there or if somebody had it on their ear and maybe they were rolling a taco and it fell in there,” Helsel said. “But another thing I thought about was how did they not notice that cigarette in there?”
Helsel, upset by the tobacco taco surprise, said she took the taco, cigarette, and two chalupas remaining in the brown Taco Bell bag back to the restaurant. She said workers tossed it all in the trash and gave her a refund.
“I thought they were going to apologize or something, but they didn’t,” Helsel said. “The employees seemed really mad that I had come back up there.”
WKRG News 5 reached out to Taco Bell’s corporate relations team about the incident. It released the following statement, attributed to Taco Bell Corporation:
“We take this very seriously. Our franchisee that owns and operates this location is looking into this matter and will be reaching out to the customer directly.”
Helsel said she has been in contact with someone from Taco Bell locally after she posted about her experience on Facebook.
Texts messages reviewed by WKRG News 5 shows someone from Taco Bell offering Helsel a “better dining experience” anywhere she and her family would like, as long as she took her post down.
Helsel, a non-smoker, said she isn’t looking for free food. She just hopes those working behind the counter are more careful from now on.
“It’s disgusting,” she said. “Either that cigarette was put there intentionally or accidentally, but that’s not the point. I fed some of that to my 1-year-old daughter.”