April 19, 2006 by Joseph Krohn
The schoolyard legal precedent came into play yesterday when the coffee and doughnut chain said the parents of the 10-year-old girl who found a winning cup from its annual contest will be given the grand prize: a Toyota SUV. Diane Slopek-Weber, director of corporate communications for Tim Hortons, confirmed there were two winners of Toyota RAV4s in Quebec, and one of them is a St. Jerome family at the centre of the flap last month that involved two schoolgirls, a janitor and a lawyer. “All the rules and regulations were followed, and the little girl’s parents will get the car,” Slopek-Weber said.
On March 6, the 10-year-old girl found a Tim Hortons cup discarded in a trash can in the locker room of Ecole de l’Horizon Soleil. Unable to roll up the rim to see if she had won a prize, she got a 12-year-old friend to help her. The girls found they had a winning cup in their hands. Both sets of parents were called to the school, and the cup was taken to a local Tim Hortons franchise so the prize papers could be filled out. Minors cannot win prizes, as per the contest rules, and there was only one space for a parent to write a name and address. The parent of the finder filled out the form, and there was talk of a $5,000 reward for the family of the second girl. Things turned ugly when the mother of the second child called a radio station, seeking legal advice and a half-share of the car. The parents of the finder said there would be no sharing. Then, a school custodian who said he had bought the coffee and thrown away the cup hired a lawyer, contending he should be awarded the prize. The lawyer told the media he might go as far as to request a DNA test to prove his client was the rightful owner. Tim Hortons did get a lawyer’s letter and considered the request, but ultimately decided the proper course of action would be to award the car to the 10-year-old girl’s family. Slopek-Weber declined to reveal the name of the winning family. She said she had no idea when the fully-loaded Toyota V6 SUV, valued at $32,990, would be delivered to St. Jerome.