GREENWICH VILLAGE — A doting dad brought home takeout from Umami Burger for his ailing daughter on Sunday, but the sick teen got an unpleasant surprise when she found a hand-scrawled note on the side of the box reading, "Trash Like You."
Juliette Borghesan, 15, who is recovering from pneumonia complicated by asthma, was shocked by the rude comment on the burger box — but she was even more alarmed after her family heard from a man who said he was a former employee of the Sixth Avenue burger joint and had written the note because the takeout box had been used to hold garbage.
“I’m sick to my stomach,” Juliette told DNAinfo New York, after the man contacted her family to apologize and said he'd been fired from Umami Burger for writing the note.
The man, who declined to be interviewed by DNAinfo New York, told Juliette's father that Umami Burger workers had used the small cardboard box "as a trash can for the entire day" inside the Sixth Avenue burger joint's kitchen, according to the father, Tom Borghesan.
Then, when the eatery ran out of to-go boxes later in the day, a worker dumped the trash out of the box and used it for Juliette's burger, the man said, according to Borghesan.
"It's a lot more severe now than just handwriting on a box," said a furious Borghesan, who lives in Greenwich Village with his family. "You threatened the health of my daughter, who is presently very ill."
Juliette had already started eating the burger when she noticed the writing on the side of the box.
"I was just upset, confused and wondering, you know, 'Should I eat it?' she said. "Because you don't know what else they did to the burger."
Reached by phone, the man who identified himself as the former Umami Burger employee said he couldn't comment until he spoke to a lawyer, because Umami Burger had instructed him not to speak to the press.
A manager at the restaurant declined to answer questions.
An Umami Burger spokesman released a statement saying, "The writing on the box was an obvious mistake and was not intended for the customer. We've apologized to the customer and are dealing with the matter internally."
After several phone calls and visits to Umami Burger to get more information, Borghesan said he received a call from Umami Burger CEO Paul Clayton, who insisted that the former employee's account was not true.
Clayton did not explain why the message about trash was written on the box.