Shannel Smith told Action News Jax that she went to the drive-thru at Hardee’s on Norwood Avenue last week.
She ordered her food and handed over her card to pay, but she never got it back and it ended up in the hands of a customer in front of her.
Smith said that customer took off and starting using the card.
“It was a gross negligence on Hardee's behalf,” Smith said.
Smith said the incident happened when she stopped to get her 6-year-old son chicken tenders.
“A cashier came up and told me that she had given my card -- and the food -- to the car that was parked in front of me,” Smith said.
There is only one window at this drive-thru. Smith said the car in front of her had pulled up to wait on their order when they were given her credit card by mistake.
It's a mistake Smith said she doesn’t understand.
“My first job was in fast food at McDonald's and you give the person the card, they slide it, and give it right back. You know, that's normal policy,” Smith said.
Smith said the employees apologized, but it was too late. She said that customer in front of her took off and started using her credit card.
“Immediately, I called my bank in the drive-thru. I didn't even leave the premises, called my bank. However, there was a 15-minute hold,” Smith said. “So, it took me about 15 minutes to get through, but in just that short time, that guy went to two gas stations and a liquor store to try to fraudulently use my card.”
She said the Hardee’s customer spent $77.25 at a gas station, but by the time he tried to use it again at a Race Trac and a liquor store, the card was declined.
“To take somebody's livelihood, you know? I have two kids. He don't know what, that could be all the money I had, you know, so it's very unfortunate,” Smith said.
Smith said Hardee’s offered her coupons for her inconvenience. She also said one of the cashiers working at the time gave her $20 out of her own pocket.
We spoke to the store’s manager, who referred us to their district manager. The manager said he couldn’t comment about the incident and referred Action News Jax to the corporate office, which provided this statement:
“We are sincerely apologetic to Ms. Smith regarding the incident on the 26th. We made an honest mistake due to human error. We identified the mistake to Ms. Smith and immediately took action to help make it right for her, both in the moments directly following the incident as well the police follow up. We strive to always deliver excellent customer service, and sincerely regret we made a mistake in this instance.”
Meanwhile, Smith said she wants people to know what happened because she believes it could easily happen to someone else.
“I think it could happen to anybody anytime you're exchanging your card to somebody else's hands," Smith said. "Your information is gone, even if it's for a split second. In my case, it ended up being longer than a second."
Smith said she called the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and filed a report.
She said she was told they were able to grab the tag number from surveillance video of the man who took off with her credit card.