Articles about a woman who threw coffee on a McDonald’s drive-thru employee were the News Bulletin’s most-read and third-most-read stories of 2020. (News Bulletin file photo)

Articles about a woman who threw coffee on a McDonald’s drive-thru employee were the News Bulletin’s most-read and third-most-read stories of 2020. (News Bulletin file photo)

Nanaimo News Bulletin’s top 10 most-read news stories of 2020

Article about a coffee-throwing caper received the most clicks on our website this year

1. Customer throws hot coffee on employee through McDonald’s drive-thru window in Nanaimo, Oct. 15.

In a year in which a global pandemic turned the world upside-down, an article about a disgruntled customer in a fast-food drive-thru was the most-read story published by the Nanaimo News Bulletin.

As 2020 comes to a close, we’ve run the website analytics and can bring you the top-10 most-read articles at This has been our best-ever year for website traffic and we appreciate people clicking, reading, reacting and commenting.

As mentioned, our article about Nanaimo RCMP looking for a woman who allegedly threw a cup of hot coffee on an employee at a McDonald’s drive-thru was our most-read story of the year. Not only that, it was the most-read article in our website’s history, by a significant margin.

The coffee-throwing incident happened at the Terminal Park McDonald’s and was captured on a vehicle’s dash-cam.

“It’s over the top. The employee could have been injured and it’s quite a selfish gesture,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.

2. No more ferries will sail from Departure Bay during COVID-19 pandemic, April 3.

In a ferry-dependent community, the temporary closure of one of our major ferry terminals was a huge story and a moment when the pandemic seemed to hit close to home.

B.C. Ferries announced that ferries would stop sailing out of Departure Bay for two months as part of major reductions in sailings on all routes.

Mark Collins, B.C. Ferries president and CEO, said in a video message that ferry traffic was down 80 per cent.

“These changes are designed to ensure we have sufficient capacity to allow the flow of essential goods, services, supplies and workers to their destinations,” said Collins in a press release. “We will continue to transport the goods communities rely on, and we will get people to where they need to go.”

3. Nanaimo RCMP still looking for woman who threw coffee at worker after already receiving refund, Oct. 21.

A lot of our readers were invested in the coffee caper and seemed interested in any new developments.

An update to the initial coffee-throwing story ended up as the third-most-read article on our website this year.

Police revealed that the woman who threw coffee on a McDonald’s employee had already been reimbursed by the restaurant for being served the wrong order.

Nanaimo RCMP said they expected to be able to forward a report to Crown counsel related to possible charges.

4. Province loses battle to seize Hells Angels clubhouses in Kelowna, Nanaimo, Vancouver, June 11.

An account of a lengthy legal battle coming to an end was the next-most-read story on our site this year.

B.C. Supreme Court dismissed the claims of the province’s director of the Civil Forfeiture Office that had attempted to seize Hells Angels clubhouses in Kelowna, Nanaimo and Vancouver’s east end.

Supreme Court Justice Barry Davies ruled “it cannot be proven the clubhouses will be used unlawfully in the future.”

Custody of the Nanaimo clubhouse and its contents, including three motorcycles belonging to three individual members, were to be returned to the Hells Angels.

5. Passengers from Nanaimo now on ‘mystery cruise’ after Chile calls a state of catastrophe, March 18.

Cruise ship passengers from Nanaimo got a wild ride at the start of the pandemic, first stranded off the coast of Chile because of COVID-19 and later passing through the Panama Canal under the cover of darkness.

The early part of their journey was detailed in one of the News Bulletin’s best-read stories of the year.

Maggie Tilley, in an e-mail to the News Bulletin, said she and her husband David Andrews were one of at least three couples from Nanaimo aboard the Holland America Line cruise ship Zaandam, and Chilean authorities refused to let the ship pull into port and disembark passengers.

“They wanted us to do a 14-day quarantine. Our captain did not accept those terms and we pulled up the anchor and we are heading north,” Tilley wrote.

Passengers on the cruise ship tested positive for COVID-19 and four died of illness.

6. No COVID-19 at Woodgrove Centre as memo mixed up mall identities, July 1.

It turned out that a memo sent was mistaken and there was in fact no COVID-19 case linked to Woodgrove Centre.

Both Woodgrove Centre and then-owner Ivanhoé Cambridge had said that a worker at the mall had tested positive for COVID-19, and sent a memo to tenants and service providers.

However, there had been a mix-up, and an e-mail from Ivanhoé Cambridge’s public affairs department to the News Bulletin said “it appears that the mall identity was mistaken with Willowbrook Mall.”

The mall’s marketing manager said there was a lot of concern following word of the positive test and said she was happy to hear that it was a “false alarm” for Woodgrove, but added that it was a good reminder for everyone to stay diligent with health and safety protocols.

The mall would change ownership later in the year and became the first shopping centre in B.C. to make temperature checks and masks mandatory.

7. Nanaimo RCMP ask for help finding missing motorcyclist, April 10

One particular missing-persons case caught the attention of News Bulletin readers, a greater number of whom shared the story to try to spread the word.

A 40-year-old motorcyclist travelling on a black Harley Davidson with a white pinstripe was found safe and sound, police say.

8. Island Health reports COVID-19 outbreak at Nanaimo hospital, Nov 11.

A COVID-19 outbreak at NRGH was worrisome for readers.

The night of Remembrance Day, Island Health issued a press release advising of an outbreak of five COVID-19 cases at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital’s transitional care unit.

The virus was not transmitted to any other staff members or patients at the hospital after the outbreak was declared.

9. Nanaimo man who alleged racial profiling at restaurant wants end to dispute, Feb 8.

A First Nations man from Nanaimo felt racial profiling had something to do with a negative customer service experience, and found it concerning.

Brandon Gabriel’s dining experience at the north-end Ricky’s All-Day Grill location was all over Facebook after he says his daughter was denied extra coffee creamers. Ricky’s provided an e-mailed statement, saying “no racial-oriented language or actions occurred by our staff” and apologizing “for any miscommunication or misinterpretation of the events.”

10. Woman dies in crash on old Island Highway in front of Country Club Centre, June 14.

A 34-year-old woman died from injuries she sustained in a collision in front of Country Club Centre on the old Island Highway.

Nanaimo RCMP said the victim’s car swerved, struck the median, landed in the northbound lane and collided with an SUV.

Witnesses started emergency first aid on the victim prior to the arrival of emergency first responders, but the woman died at the scene.

READ ALSO: Top 10 most-read news stories of 2019

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