EUREKA SPRINGS--All John Carel expected on Sunday afternoon was a couple of juicy angus burgers from McDonald's drive-through window for him and his wife.
What he didn't expect was that someone else had already taken a bite out of his before it got handed out the window.
When he opened the box and saw that one big and perfect bite was already missing, and realized the burger was cold as well, he made a beeline back to McD's and asked for the manager.
He spoke with a manager he identified as "Larry" and showed him the burger, still in the box.
When Larry asked him what he wanted to do about it, Carel said, "I'd like to go into the kitchen and find out who did this and talk to him."
According to Carel, Larry then told him it was a hamburger that a previous customer had returned, apologized for it being sold that way, and laughed it off.
Carel was not amused.
He obtained a refund slip with Larry Wright's signature on it and kept the burger.
"I have several avenues in mind of making this the most expensive hamburger they ever sold," Carel said.
For one thing, he plans to take the offending burger to the Arkansas Department of Health.
"I was in the restaurant business for twenty-five years, and my concern is that they not do this to anyone else. It's a health concern," he said.
Carel, who is a local minister, added, "I wish I could just throw it in the trash, but then I'd feel bad if it continued to happen and someone got sick because I didn't speak up.
"There's enough negativity in this world without spreading more, so we try to stay positive; but this McDonald's has been a mess for years."
When the Citizen contacted the day manager at McDonald's on Tuesday for a comment and their side of the story, the manager said they were not allowed to comment and suggested calling the corporate 800 number.
When asked if returned food was immediately thrown away, she answered, "That is our policy."
Meanwhile, Carel plans to take his concern to the food chain's corporate offices.