One 19-year-old just became every restaurant's coveted customer.
An Oregon woman, who got sick after eating at Chipotle last year, asked for some free burritos in her settlement with the chain.
She was one of more than 500 people who fell ill across the U.S. after eating at the restaurant in 2015, according to NBC News.
Nearly 100 of those customers have recently settled financially with Chipotle.
But the woman, who racked up C$53,000 in medical bills after being hospitalized with E.coli, according to her lawyer, somehow still wants to eat there.
A steak burrito is arranged for a photograph with a drink and bags of chips at a Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. restaurant in Hollywood, Calif., on Tuesday, July 16, 2013. (Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Seattle-based lawyer Bill Marler, who has handled several foodborne illness cases, told the Boston Globe that the Oregon resident received about two dozen free burrito coupons as part of her settlement.
“I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ve never had a client ask for such a thing,” Marler told the newspaper.
Marler said that he resolved 96 cases in the U.S. involving illnesses linked to Chipotle.
But while he's never heard of a client asking for coupons, she isn't the only one loyal to the chain.
“There were a lot of people I represented who just love Chipotle and some of them have already gone back, especially the college kids, to eat there,” he said.
“They have a following of especially 20-somethings that other restaurants don’t have."
He told the Denver Post that he thinks many people went to the company directly after getting sick. He also said that while none of his other clients asked for coupons, some got them anyway.
“They have a following of especially 20-somethings that other restaurants don’t have,” he said.
“It’s a little odd, but it probably says something positive about Chipotle."
He told the newspaper that he thinks the cases were resolved because U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention medical tests confirmed the contamination.
“That makes it easier, to be candid, for Chipotle to look at them and say, ‘Wow. An independent entity confirmed it.’"
A spokesman for the chain maintained in a statement to the Post that it settled the cases because it was the "right thing to do."
Chain's battles are far from over
Chipotle, which is trying to rebuild its image after the outbreaks, likely just wants to avoid too much publicity, Reuters points out.
But paying off customers doesn't mean its battles are over.
The company still faces a U.S. federal criminal investigation into food safety, according to Reuters. It also faces a civil lawsuit, in which it's accused of misleading investors.
But the restaurant can count on business from at least one woman. That is, until her coupons run out. Paying for a burrito that may have made her sick probably seems a bit rich, even to her.
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