Hoosier Gets in Hairy Situation at Orland Park Panera: Police

The Indiana man flipped out after he found a hair in his food, police said.

Panera. Credit: Joseph Hosey
Panera. Credit: Joseph Hosey
An Indiana man enraged at finding a hair in his food at the Orland Park Panera really lost it when he noticed restaurant workers weren't wearing hairnets, police said.

An Orland Park police officer was reportedly sent to the 15252 S. LaGrange Road Panera to look into a call about a customer causing a disturbance. When he got there, he saw a man "exiting the restaurant while yelling at a Panera Bread employee," police said.

The officer asked the man to show his identification but was refused, police said. The second time the officer asked, the man, 60-year-old Van Johnson of 436 Gregory St. in Schererville, IN, "relented."

The officer asked Johnson what was going on, police said, and the Indiana man told him, "I was eating and discovered a hair in my food. I then went to the counter to complain and to get a refund. I then observed that the employees were not wearing hairnets, which they shouldn't do, so I began voicing my displeasure because it seemed like they didn't care. They finally gave me a refund and I was leaving when you arrived."

The officer then spoke with the Panera manager, "who was crying and visibly upset from the incident," police said.

The officer asked the manager for her version of events, police said, and she told him how Johnson "came to the counter yelling about finding a hair in his food and asked to see a manager for a refund. He then began screaming about the employees not having hairnets on and would not stop screaming at me."

The manager, who is 5-feet-tall, told how the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Johnsonn "threw his Panera Bread card at her, striking her while calling her a pig," police said.

The manager recalled how she "completed the refund, asked Van to stop yelling at her and advised him to leave, which he did not do," police said.

Several Panera customers came forward to tell the officer that Johnson was "belligerent and aggressive," police said. He was charged with disorderly conduct.

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Nana June 11, 2014 at 07:39 AM
What a hairy mess! And he was correct, they need hairnets. I would have left with the refund then called corporate. It never occurred to me to threaten and terrorize the employees. Hmm guess I handle things like an adult is supposed to.
Harry Callahan June 11, 2014 at 08:07 AM
I am hearing more and more of incidents in restaurants even though I haven't experienced a incident I think the help are just poorly trained or just bad help and that includes management,but then again some people should not eat in restaurants they come in just looking for trouble but then again that's the new America.
AnniesDaughter June 11, 2014 at 08:25 AM
Was it an employee's hair or did the customer bring one in with him just to cause a scene? It's the oldest trick in the book to get a free meal. Just another angle on it, not necessarily what happened.
cheryl June 11, 2014 at 09:19 AM
Hairnets are a must...orland park needs to start getting the health dept. in ALLLLLL of the restaurants!
Dm June 11, 2014 at 11:53 AM
That guy acted like a fool, get your hilly billy @ss out of Orland you toothless Hoosier


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