In February of 2016, Amanda and Louis Vice, along with Louis’ mother Rhonda Agles, ordered a trio of beverages from the drive-thru of a San Bernardino Starbucks. With them was Louis and Amanda’s daughter, two-year-old Payton.
After drinking part of the beverages on the way home, the lawsuit claims, the family noticed red smears on the cups that had the “strong metallic smell” of blood.
“Once we drank it, then we could see on the inside of the rim that there was blood,” Amanda Vice told local KTLA.
After returning home and confirming that none of them were bleeding, the family called the Starbucks location. According to the lawsuit, a store employee admitted to the Vices that a barista had been bleeding but that the woman had since been removed from the sales floor.
For their troubles, the lawsuit alleges, the store manager offered the family free drinks for a week — an offer Amanda rejected.
“I thought it was sort of belittling,” she told CBS Los Angeles.
Amanda says she was concerned for her family’s health, particularly that of her daughter Payton, who had been licking the lid of one of the cups. She wanted Starbucks to require the employee to undergo blood testing to determine if the woman had any communicable diseases.
“I thought maybe I’d be a little more at peace if they would have her tested, the one who was bleeding,” Amanda said.
The lawsuit alleges that the store manager initially agreed to the testing but that the family was later informed that Starbucks couldn’t force an employee to undergo such a procedure.
“The family was then left to schedule their own blood tests, causing extreme distress for the parents as they had to watch their daughter be poked with a needle and agonizingly wait for the results,” the law firm representing the Vices said in a statement.
Those tests came back negative, but the family members had to be retested six months later to be sure they were disease-free.
“This caused the family stress, nervousness, fright, anguish, grief, anxiety, worry and shock for several months while awaiting the second round of test results,” said the firm, the Frish Law Group of Los Angeles.
The lawsuit also alleges that once settlement talks were brought up with Starbucks, the company offered to pay each family member $1,000. But according to the Vice’s attorneys, this “does not begin to compensate the family for suffered injuries and damages for which Starbucks is liable.”
As for the lawsuit itself, the company released the following statement:
“We are aware of this claim that allegedly took place in 2016, and are prepared to present our case in court.”
Regardless of what ends up happening in court, for Amanda Vice — who told local NBC4 the idea of consuming another person’s blood “made [her] sick to [her] stomach” — the damage has already been done.
“We’re constantly double-checking everything, because now I don’t trust, I don’t trust anybody,” she told CBS Los Angeles.
Or, as her husband Louis put it:
“My wife and my baby just drank someone’s blood. It was bad.”