Ken and Julie Aluzzo Yerdon went with their 12-year-old son to a Chili's in upstate New York in July 2014. The couple complained to their waiter that the food was under-cooked and that they were not served chips, according to ABC News.
As the couple was leaving they asked their waiter, then-24-year-old Gregory Lamica, for to-go drinks, which were put in Styrofoam cups. Once in the car, they came across something strange in one of the drinks.
"The lid popped off and I looked in and there was some spit in the cup," Yerdon told ABC News, noting "it was really bad."
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Mr. Yerdon then drove back to the restaurant by himself, where he was not allowed to speak to the waiter, the couple explained to Syracuse.com.
"They basically just wanted us to be happy with a couple of coupons and our money back," Julie Yerdon said. "That just wasn't gonna work for us."
Ken Yerdon then ran into Lamica in the parking lot, where Yerdon says he was crying. Lamica denied the incident but expressed worry about losing his job, Yerdon told ABC News.
The couple called police and sent the drink in to be tested for HIV and hepatitis. HIV cannot be contracted through saliva, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Police collected a DNA sample from Lamica to prove that he had spit in the drink. Lamica again denied it. He was not fired but left his job in October.
Three months after the incident, Lamica confessed after the DNA analysis confirmed that his saliva was in the drink. He was charged with disorderly conduct and pleaded guilty in February. His sentence was a one-year conditional discharge and a $125 surcharge, according to Clay Town Court.
The Yerdons are now suing Lamica, the owner of the Chili's and Brinker International (Chili's parent company) for negligence and retention of an incompetent employee. The suit was filed Tuesday.
When contacted by ABC News, each of the co-defendants either could not be reached or declined to comment.