The Wendy's Chili Legend You Wouldn't Wag Your Finger At

There are a lot of urban legends about fast food. Most of these are nothing more than misconstrued facts and outright falsehoods designed to get a rise out of gullible Internet users. Some legends, however, may be a bit more revealing than you realize.

You may have heard that McDonald's uses "pink slime" in its beef (via AP News), which is a substance of lean beef trimmings mixed with ammonium hydroxide. McDonald's responded that they have never used such a substance — at least, not since 2011. If you live around Pittsburgh, you may have heard the urban legend of a "fake" Burger King operating in the South Side area, a place that despite bearing the familiar name, had nothing that seemed to match up with any known Burger King. Cracked tells us that it was a real operating Burger King at one point until corporate revoked its license, yet the management and staff of the location just kept operating like nothing was wrong. 

Following the spirit of "true urban legends," Anna Ayala was dining at a Wendy's in 2005 when she discovered a human finger, about one-and-a-half inches long and semi-cooked, in between the meat of her chili (via Snopes). Despite a cash reward from Wendy's to solve the case of whose finger this was, no one seemed to know how the digit found its way into Ayala's chili.

But as it would turn out, the finger of suspicion wasn't pointing at Wendy's, but at Ayala.

Ayala planted the finger in her chili

If you were thinking that Ayala had placed some sort of novelty plastic finger into her chili to scare Wendy's into giving her some "hush money," you'd be half-right. The finger was indeed planted by Ayala, but it wasn't fake. It was an actual severed human finger.

According to NBC Bay Area News, the severed finger belonged to a co-worker of Ayala's husband, Jaime Plascencia, who had been injured in a construction accident. As Ayala explains in an interview, she somehow acquired the finger from her husband, cooked it at home, and then planted the finger into her chili. Although Ayala had been charged with grand larceny and sentenced to prison, it seemed that her stint in jail wasn't enough to fully straighten her out. USA Today reports that in 2014, Ayala had lied to the police to cover for her son, Guadalupe Reyes, who was in illegal possession of a firearm. For this crime, Ayala would be sentenced to two years in prison.

While this story was nothing more than an attempt at fraud, human fingers have made unexpected appearances in food before. A woman in Bolivia, reports The New York Post, was enjoying a hamburger at a local restaurant when she discovered she was eating a partially-cooked, half-decomposed, human finger in the sandwich. The burgers apparently arrived pre-prepared, only adding to the mystery of whose finger it was.

Perhaps it's best not to point fingers before all the facts are in.