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Bathroom emergency turns into P.R. nightmare for O.C. business

June 25, 2008 |  3:29 pm

Rocky How could the owner of a place that sells toffee truffle mints, caramel apples and fudge-dipped strawberries be the recipient of death threats? That's part of the fallout facing the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory franchisee in Huntington Beach after employees refused a 5-year-old girl with diarrhea permission to use the store restroom, reports the OC Register. The girl ended up soiling her clothes.

Word about the incident last Thursday spread quickly after the girl's mother contacted the Internet site The Consumerist, which posted an item about the girl's ordeal. That post triggered an apology from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory's corporate office and, apparently, death threats against Bonnie Overturf, the franchisee who operates the chocolate store in the Bella Terra Mall:

Overturf, who said she apologized to the mother earlier, contacted police once death threats began and her home address was posted on an unknown Website. People also threatened to throw feces at her home, she said.

Overturf said that it could be dangerous for customers to walk through their hallway, which is lined with supplies, to their back bathroom. "Even if insurance wasn't an issue, there is the possibility of theft and people getting hurt," Overturf, a mother of three, said Wednesday.

The girl's mother, who would not reveal her name, said Overturf has not apologized. She also turned down an offer of free Rocky Mountain products from the company's chief operating officer.

-- Jesus Sanchez

Photo: Mark Boster