A woman was forced to cough up almost $2,000 for failing to claim two ingredients in her Subway chicken sandwich. Earlier this month, Jessica Lee and her partner ended a vacation in Greece and began the journey back to Australia. But her welcome home included fines totaling 2,664 AUD, or about $1,844, for not checking the ‘chicken’ and ‘lettuce’ boxes on the declarations form.
Here’s what happened, per The Washington Post. After flying more than 8,000 miles in 24 hours, an “extremely hungry” Jessica bought a Subway sandwich during a layover in Singapore.
“I got a footlong from Subway, and we waited so long in line for it,” Jessica said. “Then I asked [the airline representatives] before I got into my connecting flight if I could take it on the plane, and they said it was fine.”
An exhausted Jessica munched on half the sandwich, before stuffing the rest into her purse along with some chocolates. By the time she landed in Perth, the capital of West Australia, Jessica had forgotten all about the half-eaten footlong. That is until customs agents searched her bag and found that she hadn’t claimed the sandwich on her declaration form.
Australian Officials Issue Fines For Biosecurity Act Violation
At the time she filled out the form, Jessica believed it was only applicable for her carry-on and luggage. However, incoming passengers must declare risky goods, including “food, animal products, and plant material.”
But Jessica didn’t check the boxes on the form labeled ‘chicken’ and ‘lettuce.’ Her error ended up being a violation of the country’s Biosecurity Act. The law is in place to prevent pests and diseases from entering Australia. According to WP, government officials strictly enforce the act to protect their landscapes and wildlife from invasive pests and diseases.
The law subjects all travelers and their baggage to screenings using x-rays, detector dogs, physical inspections, and even questioning. Punishment for violating the law range from criminal prosecution to visa cancellation or a fine.
“When the officer looked at us and said ‘yeah this is going to be close to three grand,’ I just started crying and crying,” Jessica said.
@_jessicaleeee Australian government tings 🥰🥰 starting that OF back up again to SURVIVE the next few months #fyp #australia #subway #boujee ♬ original sound – Jessica Lee
Jessica’s Story Goes Viral–Subway Gifts Her A Voucher
Following the ordeal, Jessica took to TikTok to share her story in hopes of warning others. Instead, she went viral on the platform with thousands of views. Even Domino Pizza’s account saw the post and tagged Subway with a “help her” message.
Shortly after, a Subway representative contacted Jessica, offering their help. Though they “couldn’t pay the fine,” the company sent her a voucher for sandwiches reflecting the cost of the fine ($1,844). They also gifted Jessica a package of Subway-branded trinkets.
In a statement to Food & Wine, the company said,” if there’s a lesson to be [learned] from all of this, it’s to always finish footlong in one sitting.” As for Jessica, she’s hoping to use her viral moment to launch a career in social media.
“I made a stupid mistake,” Jessica said. “But I was like ‘You know what? This is going to be the thing that, like, makes me push through.”
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