Ontario woman says she choked on screw in Tim Hortons iced coffee and was only offered free lunch

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TORONTO —
An Ontario woman who says she choked on a screw found in a Tim Hortons’ iced coffee believes company’s response to the incident has been a “huge slap in the face.”

Port Colborne woman Carolyn Wells said her daughter came to visit her on April 23 and brought over iced coffees from the Tim Hortons near her house.

“We were drinking the iced coffee and I started choking,” Wells told CTV News Toronto over the phone. “I couldn’t breathe.”

The 46-year-old said her daughter jumped up and attempted to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre but it wasn’t working. 

“She ended up having to pound on my back to dislodge the screw,” Wells said. “Then it went flying across the floor.”

“It was absolutely horrifying. I was almost dead, that’s the reality. If my daughter wasn’t there, I wouldn’t be here right now.”

Wells said later the same day she drove to the Tim Hortons, located near West Side Road and Main Street West, to file an incident report. 

She said the manager on duty was insistent the screw did not come from the store.

“After I filed a report, I ended up going home and about an hour later I got a phone call from the other manager and she said she found where the screw came from,” Wells said. 

“She said it had come from the back of the ice machine and that there’s a screw missing.”

Wells said that after that conversation she heard nothing more from the restaurant so she decided to call the head office, which is located in Oakville, Ont.

She said they told her they were unaware of the incident.

Wells said she filed another incident report with a representative from head office and was told she would hear back shortly. 

Two weeks later, she said she received a call from the owner of the Tim Hortons where the iced coffees were purchased. 

“She told me all she could do was buy me lunch to apologize. That was the end of it,” Wells said. 

Wells, who has been left emotionally shaken up by the incident, said she’s angry the company isn’t taking the matter more seriously.

“It feels like a very huge slap in the face.”

Carolyn Wells

In a statement to CTV News Toronto, Tim Hortons said they’re “really sorry to hear about this guest’s experience.”

“The restaurant owner and their team apologized after being contacted by the guest and conducted a thorough investigation to understand what happened,” the company said. 

Tim Hortons said the “concerning situation” was determined to be an isolated incident. 

“The restaurant owner has been in touch with the guest and has addressed the situation directly.”

Wells said that taking legal action against Tim Hortons never crossed her mind when the incident happened, but their response has left her considering her next steps.

“I feel like this isn’t okay and it shouldn’t have happened,” she said. “I feel I was made to feel like it didn’t matter, that I don’t matter.”

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