A Florida mother has told of her disgust after finding a soggy cigarette stuck to the bottom of a Taco Bell meal she was feeding her one year-old daughter.
Taura Helsel, 23, says she went to a Escambia County Taco Bell on Monday and ordered a chalupa meal that comes with a soft taco as a side
When Helsel got home she unwrapped the taco and fed some to her toddler Olivia, before discovering a a damp cigarette stuck to the taco.
Helsel, who works for the Florida Department of Children and Families, tossed the soft taco with the cigarette – which neither she nor her daughter had bitten into – and two remaining chalupas in a paper bag.
She then returned to the Taco Bell, where employees tossed the bag in the trash and offered her a refund.
Taura Helsel posted a picture of her Taco Bell soft taco that had a damp cigarette attached onto Facebook and captioned the post: ‘Have never been so Disgusted￼ in my life.’
But the mother claims the workers there displayed a bad attitude towards her complaint – and did not apologize over the cigarette incident, WKRG News 5 reported.
The outraged mom told DailyMail.com. ‘It’s sickening. I am so upset they didn’t even apologize.’
Helsel shared a photo of the offending taco – with the cigarette still stuck to the bottom – on her Facebook page.
She captioned the post: ‘Have never been so Disgusted￼ in my life.. I ain’t ever eating fast food again.. TACO BELL IS SO NASTY….I am on my way back there to raise hell.’
Helsel says staff at the location subsequently contacted her to try and guilt trip her into removing the post, claiming she was putting workers’ jobs at risk.
‘I had a manager from Taco Bell reach out to me and offer me a free gift card and a child’s toy if I would take the post down.
‘They said that I was going to cause everybody their job including him he said it must’ve been an honest mistake,’ Helsel told DailyMail.com
Taura Helsel started feeding her Taco Bell meal to one year-old daughter Olivia, pictured, and says she was sickened to discover a damp cigarette stuck to the bottom of it
On Facebook, Helsel claims that staff did not seem surprised to hear a cigarette was in her meal and made her wait before refunding her.
‘The manager didn’t seemed shocked, all she said was “a cigarette in the taco? …” when I came up to get a refund they made me wait over 10 minutes before they finally refunded me..
‘But they only did because they knew they screwed up.. there is cameras back there in the kitchen,’
Helsel later told DailyMail.com that a commenter got in touch to claim they’d found a cockroach in their meal at the same Taco Bell.
When reached for a comment regarding the claim of the cockroach in a taco box, Taco Bell told DailyMail.com that it was is the first that they heard about a cockroach incident at this location and that they would look into it.
Taco Bell said they were also probing the cigarette incident.
‘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,’ Taco Bell told DailyMail.com in a statement.
Helsel tells DailyMail.com that someone else told her they’d found a cockroach in a taco box at the Escambia County Taco Bell in Penscola, Florida, (pictured)
‘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,’ Taura Helsel said of the cigarette incident
Helsel says that she has been in contact with Taco Bell representatives who offered her a free meal to take the post down, but she has refused to do so.
Helsel is unsure whether the cigarette fell into her food by accident, or was placed there deliberately.
She says that she is not looking for free food, and just wants staff at the fast food restaurant to be more careful.
‘It’s disgusting,’ she told WKRG News 5. ‘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.’