All Monique McNeely wanted was a morning cup of coffee and some fast food for her daughter.
Instead, she found herself shooting video through the window of her car around 2:30 a.m. Friday in the drive-thru lane of an Indianapolis fast-food restaurant at the corner of North Meridian and 16th streets.
She had watched as customers in front of her climbed through the drive-thru window to shout and throw punches at the restaurant's manager in an argument over McDonald's Chicken McNuggets — and her viral video later won her unexpected attention.
"I had just placed my order and I was driving around the corner when I heard all this shouting," McNeely said Saturday. "And I saw two girls just dive through the drive-thru window. Then I started recording, because I knew this was going to be an important video."
McNeely shot several videos with her smartphone. In the first, you can see a woman inside the restaurant, leaning halfway out of the drive-thru window and throwing punches and kicks at someone inside. In the second video, the same woman and another woman climb back out through the window, hurl some loud threats, then get in their car before driving away.
"It was shocking to see what was happening," said McNeely, who is from Texas and was visiting Indianapolis with her daughter for a band competition. "I was like, 'What happened? What did I just witness?' "
At any point did she fear for her own safety?
"I was worried that they were going to see me. If you see the video, you can see me trying to hide behind the wheel. There was a point where I knew they saw me, but then they just got back in their car and drove off."
She did catch the license plate of the suspects' car for a few moments in the video. McNeely went back to her hotel room, posted the video on Facebook and shared it with a few friends back in Arizona, where she grew up. She also turned it over to the restaurant, who gave it to the police.
And then McNeely went to sleep. When she woke up, her phone had blown up with messages and calls. When she went downstairs, she heard hotel employees talking about the "Chicken McNugget incident." Later in the day, she was interviewed by reporters and the story went viral.
McDonald's has not responded for comment, but the incident appeared to be over an order of McNuggets. According to WISH-Channel 8, the manager said the women complained that they hadn't been given all the McNuggets they had ordered. However, the manager said they had placed an order for only four McNuggets, not 10, and he showed them the receipt. When they asked to order more, he told them they had to drive around to order again at the sign board.
The manager then reportedly told the two women to "have a nice day" and the fight broke out.
According to a report filed with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the suspects, if found, could be charged with battery and vandalism charges.
The report said: "Two females, upset that they didn't get their chicken mcnuggets (sic.), climbed through the drive thru window, damaging property and assaulting an employee." There's no word yet from police on any arrests.
A similar incident happened in 1999, when then-University of Kansas player Dion Rayford became famous for all the wrong reasons after he angrily attempted to crawl through a Taco Bell drive-thru window in Lawrence, Kan., at around 2 a.m. to get to employees who forgot a chalupa in his take-out order. The 6-foot-3, 260-pound senior defensive end didn't quite make it all the way inside the restaurant, however. He was seen stuck halfway through the 14-by-46-inch window opening when police arrived.
Rayford was arrested on disorderly conduct charges, suspended for the final game of the season and became the butt of "Drop the chalupa!" jokes.
In the Indianapolis incident, McNeely said she knew she was taking a chance, but decided that capturing video was the right thing to do.
"I wanted to do the right thing, so I just kept recording.
"I just hope those girls learned their lesson. I really hope that the employees are OK. You shouldn't treat people like that."
Follow IndyStar digital producer Dwight Adams on Twitter: @hdwightadams.
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