Ontario woman says she choked on screw in Tim Hortons iced coffee and was only offered free lunch

TORONTO – An Ontario woman who says she choked on a screw in a Tim Hortons iced coffee believes the company’s response to the incident was a “big slap in the face.”

Carolyn Wells, a Port Colborne woman, said her daughter came to visit on April 23 and brought iced coffee from the Tim Hortons near her home.

“We drank the iced coffee and I started choking,” Wells told CTV News Toronto on the phone. “I couldn’t breathe.”

The 46-year-old said her daughter jumped up and tried the Heimlich maneuver, but it didn’t work.

“She eventually had to hit my back to loosen the screw,” Wells said. “Then it flew across the floor.”

“It was absolutely horrific. I was almost dead, that’s the reality. If my daughter weren’t there, I wouldn’t be here now.”

Wells said later that day that she drove to the Tim Hortons, which are located near West Side Road and Main Street West, to file an incident report.

She said the manager on duty insisted the screw not come from the store.


“After filing a report I went home and about an hour later I got a call from the other manager and she said she found out where the screw came from,” Wells said.

“She said it came from the back of the ice machine and a screw is missing.”

Wells said she hadn’t heard from the restaurant after that conversation, so she decided to call headquarters in Oakville, Ontario.

They said they were unaware of the incident.

Wells said she filed another incident report with a headquarters representative and was told that she would receive feedback shortly.

Two weeks later, she said she received a call from the owner of the Tim Horton where the iced coffees were purchased.

“She told me she could only buy me lunch to apologize. That was the end,” Wells said.

Wells, who was emotionally shaken by the incident, said she was angry that the company wasn’t taking the matter more seriously.

“It feels like a very big slap in the face.”

Carolyn Wells

In a statement to CTV News Toronto, Tim Hortons said they “are really sorry to hear about this guest’s experience”.

“The restaurant owner and his team apologized after being contacted by the guest and conducted a thorough investigation to understand what happened,” the company said.

Tim Hortons said the “situation in question” was an isolated incident.

“The restaurant owner contacted the guest and addressed the situation directly.”

Wells said that it never crossed her mind to take legal action against Tim Hortons when the incident happened, but her reaction made her think about her next steps.

“I have a feeling that this is wrong and shouldn’t have happened,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been made to feel like it doesn’t matter, that I’m not important.”

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