You be the Judge: Woman Charged and Sued After Swapping Roommate’s Food with Vegan Alternatives

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Here’s an allergic woman’s story from reddit that’s been making the rounds on internet sites. Taking everything posted on reddit with a huge grain of salt, we thought the story interesting and a great topic for conversation here and at the dinner table.

Please comment below and let us know what you think. Should the roommate have been charged with a felony? Should she have been sued? Or should she have been given a pass for her actions which were presumably made with no malice? You be the judge!

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This happened several years ago.

I was a 20F and in college. I was living with my two best friends. One of them was moving out so that she could move in with her boyfriend. I placed an ad looking for another roommate.

That’s how I met Erin. Before she moved in she informed me that she was vegetarian but she wouldn’t have a problem if other roommates weren’t. She moved into our apartment a month later.

The next day after she moved in she cooked breakfast for us. I was surprised. We didn’t ask her to and by her own words “she wanted to do something nice”.

She had made pancakes, bacon strips and hash browns. I am deathly allergic to few things.

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So, I immediately asked her what was in the food, but I didn’t mention my allergies (huge mistake). She listed the ingredients and I didn’t find anything I was allergic to. [Edit: she told me it was regular bacon. Not that it was fake bacon or that it had soy]. I start eating and everything tastes a little off. I try the bacon and definitely something is wrong. At this point, she does a ” Ta da” and smugly told us “I bet it tastes exactly like meat”.

I am freaking out now. I told her I am severely allergic to soy and asked her whether there was any soy. Now she is apologising and says she didn’t know and that she is sorry she lied and blah blah. I am experiencing anaphylactic shock: throat closing up, dizzy, the works. My bestfriend freaks out and calls an ambulance. I had to stay in the hospital for 2 days. With the US healthcare, the ambulance + my hospital stay racked up a lot of money. Money that I didn’t have.

In the meantime, I also filed a complaint with the police. Food tampering is a felony. I had a lucky break: my best friend had filmed the breakfast to post it on Instagram and she got the whole thing in video.

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In the end Erin had to plead guilty to some low degree of felony. She didn’t get any jail time, but got community service. Once she was found guilty, I sued her for the hospital fees. I won that one too.

[I did all the legal things under the advise of my Uncle’s friend who is a lawyer. He said something about how it will be easy to sue if she had a guilty charge. I also did not have any contact with Erin during any of this under the advise of my laywer].

Erin’s scholarship was cancelled and she had to drop out. She also went into dent paying medical fees. I saw her on Facebook few days ago and she is still down on her luck. I guess a felony charge makes it very hard, no matter how small the charge was.

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I know she is the a**hole for lying about food. I wanna know whether I am the a**hole for everything I did after. Because bottom line is, I basically screwed a person’s life because they put wrong ingredients on breakfast that they made only “to do something nice”.

Edit: You guys are bitching like as if I wrote the law on food tampering or like I was the PP who decided what charges to file or like as I if I was the judge/jury that gave the verdict. This is a snorefest. Throwing the throwaway account.

You guys can keep whining all you want but that doesn’t change the verdict.

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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of SnackSafely.com.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Wow! Thanks for sharing the story because I can warn my kids to never play this sort of prank on someone.
    So, in my honest opinion…She should have said immediately…what she is allergic to!! So, she is a tad bit at fault. Erin the roommate probably just wanted to have them try the “fake” bacon just to see if they would like it & if they could be persuaded to try to become vegetarian. There was no intent or maliciousness on Erin’s part.
    She did tamper with the food but, come on…..why didn’t the defendant TELL HER ABOUT HER ALLERGIES???!!!! DUMB DUMB DUMB!
    Defendant ruined Erin’s life & the defendant doesn’t even care…..that is what makes this story sad…..bc there are so many people out there that just have no empathy. SAD!
    Go eat some FAKE-ON Defendant!

  2. Shouldn’t a grown 20 year old with severe food allergies know enough to check what they are putting in their body? If someone they did know very well is making them a meal they should have told them before putting food in their mouth. Example: “Thank you for making g breakfast. What is in this I am severely allergic to XYZ”. Only then if the chef lied should they get in trouble.

  3. Well first look at the age of these two young women. Not much adaptable life experiences with living in different environments,
    other than in a college dorm room.
    Its sounds so cozy someone making a breakfast as a nice gesture.
    Then b/c no words spoken about allergies, Big oops!
    But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any passive aggressive intent?
    Maybe there was no malice, however a serious reaction occurred.
    The point is you survived and thank God for that! So, move on and don’t question your ethics, that’s why you had representation.
    It’s a sad case but that was a decision that was made, it’s still a life that luckily was saved.

  4. I don’t think it’s far to judge the victim. The roommate who messed with the food should have known better. Even if her life got messed up after she did what she said was a friendly joke. It is totally unacceptable to push your views and way of life on someone. And I feel like the woman victim did the right thing. She could have died. Nobody deserves to be messed with like that. So I say I’m glad it wasn’t much worse for the victim and she shouldn’t feel bad at all. Harmless pranks kill a lot of people every year. And harsher punishments will hopefully put a stop to it.

  5. That could have been me! I once ordered Thai fishcakes for a friend who said he absolutely didn’t want to have fish. Up till then, I had never met anyone with allergies, but I did know lots of people who didn’t like fish. So I assumed he just didn’t like fish. As Thai fishcakes don’t taste like fish at all due to all the spices, I ordered them, and had him try some, just to prove that fish could be delicious. I didn’t disclose that there was fish in the fishcakes, because I thought that might have stopped him from trying. Much like when you tell a kid who hates vegetables there are veggies hidden in a delicious soup. Of course he had an allergic reaction, and of course I still feel guilty about it to this day. But now, having 2 highly allergic kids myself, I know that the only way to stay safe is to be very specific about your allergies. Always mention them. At the end of the day, you can play a blame game, but there’s a life at risk, and so is life-long guilt. I guess the author, like my friend, learned this the hard way.

  6. The OP in NOT the a**hole. No one should ever trick people with food. Ever. Should she have mentioned allergies? Maybe. But that doesn’t change the fact that Erin, when asked, was not honest about what was in the food. Her responsibility. And she is living with the consequences. Does it suck for Erin? It sure does. She almost killed someone. She’s very lucky it wasn’t involuntary manslaughter. Lack of knowledge of the law does not mean she isn’t guilty of breaking it.

  7. The roommate that tampered with the victim’s food deserved everything that happened to her after. Roommate told her she had allergies (even if unspecified), she decided to hide the fact that she was using “vegan” versions of regular products in allergic roommate’s food. You don’t lie to people about the stuff you’re about to feed them for this very reason, this isn’t a little prank this is a self-righteous smug move that almost cost someone else their life. She should have gotten jail time on top of being sued.

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