There's no shortage of bacon at TGI Fridays. The restaurant drapes it on just about everything -- burgers, potato skins, salads, you name it. Nicole Queen, as a practicing Muslim, avoids the stuff religiously, as do the friends with whom she recently dined at the outlet in Garland's Firewheel Town Center. That's why they sent back the Cobb salad they'd ordered, asking for the bacon to be removed.
"It was kind of like being taken care of behind bars," Queen told WFAA's Jobin Panicker of the experience.
Nevertheless, the Cobb salad reemerged from the kitchen bacon-free, and the friends finished the meal. Here's what happened next, according to her Facebook post:
So then at the end of our lunch a diff waitress finished our check. She asked if I would like a Togo cup of ice tea. I said sure and she presented me with a foam cup and straw already in it with the top part of the wrapper still in tact. I got in the car and took off the top wrap and took a sip, instead of tea I got a mouth of BACON!!!
She marched back inside and confronted the manager.
[I] told him what happened and his reply was just deny deny deny. Oh I don't think anyone did that on purpose...blah blah. Really? So someone accidentally stuck bacon into the straw and stuck in my cup and placed the wrapper back on top, for the girl in the scarf? Yeah total accident that it happens to be bacon.
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It's worth pausing here to point out that Queen wasn't born a Muslim. She grew up Baptist, wandered away from the church, became a hard-partying nightlife photographer, working for a time as resident picture-taker at Ghost Bar, then, during a period of intense soul-searching, she met Hassan, her future husband. She converted to Islam and donned the hijab six years ago.
She has told this story frequently, on her blog, as a member of the Islamic Speakers Bureau, and Al Jazeera Arabic. So the lede on WFAA's story, which says that that Queen "never wanted the attention," is a bit misleading.
That said, she also never wanted a mouthful of bacon.
Fridays has apologized and told WFAA that it's conducting an investigation into the incident and "will take any appropriate actions necessary based on the findings."