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JONESBORO, Ark. – A Facebook video posted 24-hours ago has over 14,000 views. The video shows roaches dashing across what is described as the dry storage room of Barnhill’s on Caraway in Jonesboro.
The stomach-turning video was posted by Shayy Ewing at 10:56 AM Wednesday morning. You can hear the person filming groan in disgust.
It doesn’t end there.
Another post by Ewing shows a worm in the ice that the drinks are served with.
The photos and the descriptions with are concerning, so we reached out to Barnhill’s Thursday morning to ask a few questions. We spoke with the manager, Chris, who was very polite and humble in our conversation. He acknowledged he had seen the video and had no reason to question its authenticity.
“They are (real) videos and she was an employee here,” The manager said. “And she probably took them while she was here. If we have any issues, we have contracted services to do our pest control.”
Chris said pest control services had actually been to the restaurant as recently as yesterday, indicating he took immediate action when he learned of the ex-employee’s sanitary concerns.
“I’ve spoken with the health department,” Chris said. “I’m proactive and I’m the first one to take care of it. We had the pest control people out yesterday and had a walk thru. It’s unfortunate with social media like this that it blows up.”
We asked the manager for more details about the ex-employee, whom he said had been let go several weeks ago. He said she had only worked there for about two months and even then only two days a week, on average. He didn’t specify why but he did say she was “let go.” He described her as a disgruntled ex-employee.
However, importantly, he also took responsibility for the concerning images and said he would take measures to correct the issues. He noted during Wednesday’s visit by pest control, no bugs were seen.
NEA Report reached out to Ewing. She responded after our initial publication
“Those pictures are real and I even have proof from another co worker from there,” Ewing said. “I took those pictures because I knew it needed to be put in the open for the world to see.”
We also reached out to the Craighead County Health Department but both inspectors were doing inspections and unavailable for comment at the time we called.
One of the more unexplained images the manager saw was the photo showing some kind of worm in the ice box. The worm appears near the top of the ice. Although manager Chris didn’t shy away from his responsibility, he couldn’t help but wonder about the authenticity of this image.
“It does seem a bit strange,” Chris said. “We sanitize our machines. The soda machines, you have to take them all apart. We do that. I’m not sure if the photo was taken on a busy day.”
Ewing said the manager knew the worm photo was authentic because it has happened before.
“The worm [pic] is real,” Ewing said. “They always find worms in the ice and the managers know that.”
It remains to be seen how much of an impact the images and allegations will be to the business but the restaurant was full on a rainy Thursday at lunch, management said. And although patrons deserve to know what conditions they’re dining in, business owners and their employees deserve to have their side of the story told, too.
“It’s unfortunate because this is my livelihood and 40 other employees’ (livelihood),” The Barnhill’s manager said. “With social media, this kind of stuff blows up. I’ll be the first one to tell you we’re not perfect but we’re working on it. ”
12:40 PM: We updated this story after publication with quotes from Ewing.