The world’s most costly sandwich is a champagne-breaded, gold-flake-sprinkled grilled cheese from New York’s Serendipity 3 that sells for $US214 ($311). But a lady ended up paying over eight occasions that quantity for half of a Subway footlong that she forgot to declare when she landed in Australia after a layover in Singapore.
The mistake price Jessica Lee $2664 and made her go viral on TikTok. Soon, her face was splashed in information tales from world wide – her story even acquired the eye of Subway, which stepped in with a present to offset the advantageous.
“Now my family calls me ‘Subway girl,’ ” Lee, a 19-year-old Aussie content material creator, mentioned.
The story of how a rooster footlong topped with lettuce turned “the most expensive sandwich ever,” as Lee put it, begins when she started experiencing a sense acquainted to many travellers: the hangover-like jet lag introduced on by long-haul flights.
Lee was on her manner again from an idyllic trip in Greece, however her return to Australia on July 1 was something however. She and her accomplice had flown greater than 12,000 kilometres over the span of 24 hours. Brain-fogged and “extremely hungry,” Lee mentioned the stopover in Singapore turned a saving grace since she was in a position to eat.
“I got a footlong from Subway, and we waited so long in line for it,” Lee mentioned. “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.”
Lee ended up consuming half and stashing the remaining inside her purse with some goodies. She had forgotten in regards to the leftover sandwich till brokers had been checking her luggage as soon as they’d landed in Perth. She had not ticked the suitable bins on the declaration type – a breach of Australia’s Biosecurity Act, a regulation designed to forestall pests and ailments from coming into the nation.
Australia strictly enforces its biosecurity legal guidelines. The nation identified for its numerous landscapes and wildlife is eager on remaining “free from the world’s most invasive pests and diseases,” in line with its Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
“Those pests and diseases could disrupt our agricultural industries, our natural environment and our national economy,” a division spokesperson mentioned.
That means all travellers and baggage are topic to screenings “with X-ray machines, detector dogs, physical inspection and questioning.” Incoming passengers are additionally given a type to “declare any risk goods including food, animal products and plant material,” in line with the company. Failure to conform can result in a spread of punishments – together with prison prosecution, visa cancellation or, in Lee’s case, a advantageous of $2664.
“When the officer looked at us and said, ‘Yeah, this is going to be close to three grand,’ I just started crying and crying,” Lee mentioned.
That evening, the combination of jet lag and anxiousness over the advantageous prevented Lee from falling asleep. So, she defined the ordeal in a TikTok clip “with the hopes that it doesn’t happen to anyone else.” Within hours, the video raked in hundreds of views and feedback. As of Wednesday morning, the video has been seen greater than 1.3 million occasions.
“All my friends and family were sending me screenshots of the news articles, and I was just sitting there thinking, ‘Like, yeah, I’m actually on the internet for being an absolute idiot,’ ” she mentioned, laughing.
But the expensive mistake additionally got here with a silver lining, Lee mentioned.
The Domino’s Pizza TikTok account tagged Subway within the video, telling the corporate to “help her.” Minutes later, somebody with the worldwide sandwich franchise reached out to Lee, telling her that “although they couldn’t pay the fine, they’d love to help,” she mentioned.
Along with a voucher for $2664 value of sandwiches, Subway additionally despatched a package deal of branded goodies, which Lee unboxed for her followers.
Subway did not instantly reply to a request for remark. However, the corporate mentioned in an announcement to Food & Wine that “if there’s a lesson to be learnt from all of this, it’s to always finish a footlong in one sitting.”
Aside from the various sandwiches she will be able to now buy, the frenzy has grow to be “a motivational kind of thing” for the at the moment unemployed Lee. A month in the past, she stop her job in baby care to pursue a profession in social media.
Despite risking turning into a “Subway girl” meme for perpetuity, the episode has impressed Lee to make use of her newfound viewers to realize her objectives.
“I made a stupid mistake,” she mentioned. “But I was like, ‘You know what? This is going to be the thing that, like, makes me push through.’ “
And that, for her, vindicates a blunder dearer than a champagne-breaded sandwich.
The Washington Post