It’s hard to believe that grown adults could not recognize a seriously wrong situation, let alone adults that were trusted enough to be hired as an assistant manager of a restaurant. Good judgment out the window. Morals, out the window. Intelligence, zero.
April 9th, 2004 – Mt Washington, Kentucky
Asst. Manager Donna Jean Summers  gets a call from an unidentified caller telling her that an employee, Louise Ogborn , is being accused of stealing a purse. The “caller” tells Donna Jean Summers that he is a police officer. Without any proof of any kind who the person is on the other end of the phone, Donna Jean Summers begins to do everything the caller asks of her. As Donna is instructed by “caller”, she tells Louise she is to be searched, then strip searched or be taken to the police.
After watching this video (originally airing on ABC News Now and edited by Opie and Anthony) you may have about 100 questions popping into your head about the entire incident. Before we get into some of them, the following are the facts as they are today:
- Louise Ogborn sued McDonalds for $200 million and is awarded $6.1 million.
- Donna Jean Summers was fired and plead guilty to wrongful imprisonment and given 1 year probation.
- Donna Jean Summers sues McDonalds for $50 million and is awarded $1 million by the jury.
- Walter Nix Jr is arrested and convicted for his part in this crime and other related crimes.
- David Stewart a prison guard in Panama City, Florida is arrested and acquitted of being the culprit in this crime. (other charges pending in other similar cases) [special note, all calls of this nature to fast food restaurants have stopped since Stewart’s arrest]
- McDonalds did send warnings to their stores about prank phone calls two weeks prior to this incident (confirmed).
Now to the questions that came to mind while watching this. A store manager arbitrarily follows the instructions of an unidentified caller to perform police work knowing full well she is not qualified to perform police work, such as a strip search, let alone any kind of search of another person without a warrant. Not even reasonable suspicion will authorize Donna Jean Summers since she is not a law enforcement officer or even remotely trained as one. Donna Jean Summers illegally detains a subordinate, an employee under her care, and removes her victim (Louise Ogborn) of all possible defenses and means to defend herself and imprisons Louise using an effective means that prison guards employ to reduce the number of attempts to escape custody. A psychological ploy that reaches deep into the human psyche is the embarrassment and humiliation of being in public naked/nude and challenging authority. On an 18 year old female, this would be especially effective in keeping her prisoner without any effort. Donna Jean Summers, being an adult female, should have recognized the helplessness of this feeling immediately.
Donna Jean Summers took Louise’ car keys, cell phone and clothes, effectively imprisoning Louise in her office. Was Donna Jean Summers under a spell? Was she drugged? Was she being commanded to perform these acts with a gun held to her head? Why didn’t Donna Jean Summers just ask the “caller” to come to the store and do this himself, if he was truly a law enforcement officer, since the police station was only 5 minutes down the road from that particular McDonalds.
Donna Jean Summers was then instructed to bring her boyfriend/fiancé (Walter Nix Jr.) to the restaurant and perform guard duty. The second unqualified person to perform police work and Donna Jean Summers still doesn’t question anything that she is doing at the command of an “unknown” person on a phone. Keep in mind, this all transpired over the course of approximately 3 hours. Jason Bradley, 27, a cook who Donna Jean Summers at one point called in to watch Ogborn, refused to go along with the caller’s instructions to remove her apron and describe her.
While Louise was held prisoner against her will in a McDonalds store office, stripped of her defenses, stripped of her dignity, the 42 year old Walter Nix Jr (an adult) comes to take over by the “caller’s” request. Why would a 42 year old male, upon witnessing the situation, not immediately question this activity or the authenticity of the caller? We now know why and we now see the true colors of Donna Jean Summers and her judgment of those she “trusts.” What law enforcement authority would command one person to perform sexual acts on another? What idiot would follow such an order?
While Walter Nix Jr is enjoying the commands of his new boss “the caller”, Donna Jean Summers is more interested in keeping her subordinates out of the area of the office by attending to what must have been an “onslaught” of customers that were more important than the seriousness of the supposed situation in the office. If Donna Jean Summers had any true conviction that she was dealing with a real officer on the phone, and believed in her heart that this situation was legitimate and real, why wasn’t she at the side of her subordinate the entire time tending to this supposed more important issue, rather than feeding hungry people, which she had employees for? Donna Jean Summers enters the office at one point and ignoring that Louise is naked walks right past her to fiddle with the computer and looks for gift certificates at which point Walter Nix Jr then tosses Louise the apron to cover herself. Donna Jean Summers had abandoned a defenseless, helpless 18 year old female under her care [who Donna Jean Summers had personally rendered helpless and defenseless] to two adult male strangers, one with physical contact and the other on a phone giving commands. Donna Jean Summers was then shocked and surprised that anything “wrong” was going on even when she walked in on a fully nude Louise at one point.
Some time later, one Thomas Simms  was asked into the office and spoke with the “caller” to which he also refused to comply with a stranger on the phone. Donna Jean Summers was shocked and surprised to hear he was asked to remove Louise’ apron as well. Still Donna Jean Summers found nothing wrong with this entire incident, found no reason to stop it and never questioned the morality or violation of a subordinate Donna Jean Summers was responsible for or that persons rights and freedoms, including due process. Donna Jean Summers was in fact a willing participant.
Eventually other managers arrive on the scene (apparently contacted by Donna Jean Summers herself) and the real police were called to the scene who arrive in, you guessed it, 5 minutes.
McDonalds claims they sent warnings about phone pranks and hoaxes to all stores via voice/email two weeks prior to this particular event. This has been confirmed, however, whoever was the first to see this voice/email, somehow discarded it and “forgot” to tell the other managers or employees of this warning. Lisa Siddons, the manager there, said in her deposition that it didn’t mention strip-searches (see special note at the bottom). Apparently it was more important to get the word out that the McRib was back or that happy meals have a better prize in them.
If you look at just how bizarre this incident is in relation to Donna Jean Summers participation and her fiancé’s participation and how they both willingly believed the “caller” was law enforcement, but yet Walter Nix Jr had no problem with an officer telling him to command an 18 year old girl to perform sexual acts with him, and Donna Jean Summer had no problem strip searching one of her own subordinates without question or cause or a flicker of skepticism. Maybe the whole idea of Donna Jean Summers being commanded by a stranger to perform sexually exciting things to an 18 year old female turned Donna Jean Summers on. Maybe it turned on Donna Jean Summers AND her fiancé to have a stranger on the phone command them both to perform sexual acts with an 18 year old female. Maybe it was their secret fantasy to spike their own relationship, but it had to be with someone at least 18 but not old enough to fight back. Wait, that can’t be. There aren’t any people in this world that are that sick and demented, and there is no way that Donna Jean Summers and Walter Nix Jr could ever have been in league with or in partnership with this mysterious “caller” and set this whole thing up so that Walter Nix Jr would be readily available at a moments notice and that it would only be a matter of time before Donna Jean Summers called for some extra help at the end of a particular shift of a person that had already expressed her willingness to help out whenever she could for the extra spending money. Naw………too ridiculous……..or……….is it?
Special Note – McDonald’s employee manual clearly notes its policy against strip-searches. It also notes that no non-employee of McDonalds will be allowed into the restaurant offices.