ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque family is warning others to be vigilant after their two-year-old daughter found a hypodermic needle tossed under their table at a local restaurant.
It happened Sunday evening at the Applebee’s on Menual Boulevard NE, near University. The restaurant’s ownership group acknowledge the incident Tuesday, telling KRQE News 13 it’s taking steps to prevent future situations at their restaurant.
“When she picked it up, I just kind of freaked out,” said Miranda Marquez, recalling the situation.
The incident happened after 6 p.m. Sunday, as Miranda, her husband Alejandro and their two-year-old daughter Aviana were eating dinner at the restaurant.
Marquez says her daughter was sitting in the dining area when one of her crayons rolled off their table and on to the floor. That’s when Marquez says her daughter reached under the table to grab the crayon.
“She just comes up (from under the table) and she has it in her hand, she’s like, ‘mom what is this?’” said Marquez, recalling the moment she saw her daughter holding a found hypodermic needle.
Alejandro Marquez had just returned to the table as it happened.
“Miranda, she just, you know, I heard her gasp,” said Alejandro Marquez.
Miranda Marquez told KRQE News 13 she was able to take the needle out of her daughter’s hand before anything bad happened. The mother says her daughter wasn’t stabbed or pricked with the needle.
“It’s crazy to me to think that it’s in a restaurant where people eat and just want to be family,” said Marquez.
As the couple informed managers of what happened, Alejandro Marquez says he found a second needle under the table. It’s unclear what the needles were used for.
“Even if it was insulin, she still could have gotten poked,” said Alejandro Marquez.
Sharing their story, Miranda and Alejandro hope other families avoid what nearly happened to them.
“It’s not right,” said Alejandro.
The franchise group operating the Applebee’s where the needle incident occurred sent the following statement to KRQE News 13:
“The safety of our guests and team members is our highest priority. Our local management has taken action to have the restaurant thoroughly cleaned and is taking the proper steps to prevent future incidents.”Andy Patel, President, Apple Investor’s Group, an Applebee’s Franchisee