A South Carolina family said they left an Applebee’s restaurant after spotting an unusual “patron” at the bar.
Adriane Neico was dining at an Applebee’s in Columbia on June 10 with her husband and sister-in-law when they spotted a baby opossum near the bar.
She took several photos and also shot a video of the marsupial, which appeared to be crawling over garnishes for cocktails and mixed drinks.
A manager told Neico to stop taking photos.
“Well with that being said, her worries should have been on customer satisfaction. I paid my bill of $36 and left,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “However, I should have been compensated for this meal. Who knows how long he was inside of the restaurant? Not to mention all over the drinks I just ingested from the same bar a nasty possum was crawling around on. Probably urinating and defecating all over the place.”
Some commenters felt she overreacted although many found it disturbing.
“That is [expletive] crazy. I don’t like Applebees anyways,” one person wrote.
“Thanks I remember not to stop on my way thru,” another stated.
“Please tell me [they] shut it down,” one person asked her.
“Why stay and video and finish your drink? They likely didn’t know it was there,” one person, who was apparently defending Applebee’s, wrote.
Applebee’s sent a statement to NBC12 about the incident.
“The safety of our guests and team members, as well as the cleanliness of our restaurants is a priority at Applebee’s. This isolated incident occurred following a heavy rain. Immediately when the animal entered the restaurant, the team acted fast to contact animal control, which was able to safely and quickly remove it from the restaurant. The team then took extra measures to thoroughly clean and disinfect the impacted area,” the firm wrote.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control was contacted by the news outlet.
“We received a complaint regarding this on Tuesday (6/11) and we have been in contact with the facility’s management. In a case such as this, the animal must be removed, all impacted food items must be thrown out and the area is required to be cleaned and sanitized,” the agency stated.
Other details about the incident are not clear.
Opossum Vs. Possum
While both are marsupials, there is a difference between an opossum and a possum.
“In North America, the animal officially called an opossum is a white and gray marsupial of the order Didelphimorphia. English colonists living in Jamestown derived the word from its equivalent in Powhatan, a language spoken by the Virginia Algonquian tribe. Literally, the word means ‘white dog or beast’ in Powhatan. John Smith spelled it ‘opassum,’ but William Strachey spelled it ‘aposoum,'” according to Grammarly.
Opossums are the only marsupial in North America.
Possums live in New Guinea, Australia, China, New Zealand, and in nearby areas.
“Sir Joseph Banks, a British botanist, thought they looked enough like the American opossum to give them a similar name. However, kangaroos and other Australian marsupials are closer relations than American opossums. Possums belong to the Diprotodontia order,” it says.