HIV infected needle at McDonald's in the ball pit-Fiction!
A Young Boy Dies After being Nicked By a Discarded Needle in a Ball Pit at McDonald's-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
An email from a mother describes how she lost her "only" son, Kevin Archer, after discovering that he'd come into contact with the needle of a medical syringe while playing in a ball pit at a McDonald's restaurant. It turned out to have the HIV virus on it. She issues a warning for parents to keep their kids safe. To help authenticate the story, the email closes by saying that the story of Kevin Archer's death can be found in the October 10, 1994 issue of the Houston Chronicle newspaper.
No evidence of this incident, or anything like it, can be found. No evidence of this mother and or a child by this name who died as described can be found. The Houston Chronicle (see the link below) denies that such a story ever ran in that newspaper. This is one of a series of eRumors making the rounds of the net involving accidental exposure to needles. There are also several versions of similar eRumors saying that people came into contact with HIV infected needles and came down with AIDS. Although it's always a good idea to keep children safe, these kinds of eRumors appeal to a fear in parents that keeps the eRumors alive and, probably, has contributed to some people's willingness to even create or embellish them.
Last updated 2/1/01
For more information: The Houston Chronicle
A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:
VERY IMPORTANT…FOR YOUR CHILDREN…PLEASE READ!!!!!!
I always said, if I had children, I wouldn’t want them to play in those public areas, for the basic reason, they could get so many germs….
But, this is much worse…because it caused a death.
Hi, My name is Lauren Archer, my son Kevin and I lived in Sugarland, TX.
On October 2nd, 1994 I took my only son to McDonald’s for his 3rd birthday.
After he finished lunch, I allowed him to play in the ball pit. When he started whining later on, I asked him what was wrong, he pointed to the back of his pull-up and simply said “Mommy, it hurts.” But I couldn’t find anything wrong with him at that time. I bathed him when we got home, and it was at that point when I found a welt on his left buttock. Upon investigating, it seemed as if there was something like a splinter under the welt. I made an appointment to have it taken out the next day, but soon he started vomiting and shaking, then his eyes rolled back into his head. From there, we went to the emergency room. He died later that night.
It turned out that the welt on his buttock was the tip of a hypodermic needle that had broken off inside.
The autopsy revealed that Kevin had died from heroine overdose. The next week, the police removed the balls from the ball pit and lo and behold. There was rotten food, several hypodermic needles: some full; some used; knives, half-eaten candy, diapers, feces, and the stench of urine. If a child is not safe in a child’s play area then where?
You can find the article on Kevin Archer in the October 10, 1994 issue of the Houston Chronicle.