Houston woman says she was poisoned after touching napkin on her car, her story goes viral

Erin Mims was celebrating her birthday with her husband at a Houston restaurant Tuesday afternoon. As they were leaving to head to a local spa, she noticed a napkin wedged in the passenger door handle of her car. 

"I didn't think nothing of it, I just threw it out," says Mims. "I opened the door with the tips of my fingers. I asked my husband, did you put a napkin in the door? And he said no."

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Mims then went back inside the restaurant, washed her hands, and got back in the car. Shortly after leaving, she says the fingers she opened that car door with started to tingle. 

"Maybe five minutes, my whole arm started tingling and feeling numb. I couldn't breathe," says Mims. "I started getting hot flashes, my chest was hurting, my heart was beating really fast."

Her husband drove her to the nearest hospital where doctors ran urine samples, blood tests and a CAT scan. 

"They said my vitals were all over the place. The doctor came in, and told me it wasn't enough in my system to determine what it was, but said it was acute poisoning from an unknown substance." 

Her doctor even told her it sounded like a failed kidnap attempt. 

"All I could do was think about my babies. It was the scariest moment of my life," says Mims. 


Mims decided to share her experience on social media, and her post went viral. Several comments suggest that similar scenarios have happened to other people, but FOX 26 has not confirmed that information.

The local hair salon owner even filed an assault report with the Houston Police Department, who tells FOX 26, their office has not received a similar complaint like this before. 

The Houston DEA office says it was the first time they heard of that particular incident. 

The details of her toxicology report are unknown, but local poison control expert Mark Winter of the Southeast Houston Poison Center says her symptoms described online match hundreds of different poisons, even though her exposure would be considered "casual," or minimal. 

"The probability is that you would have to have a lot more than just a casual exposure," says Winter. 

"In her video, her symptoms match hundreds of different poisons. It is possible. I've learned over my 40 years, that anything is possible when it comes to the human body."


Some comments under her posts have suggested Mims was not poisoned, but suffering from a panic attack, since she said in the video she was a germaphobe. 

"I read some of the comments. I don’t care what people think," says Mims. "I just want them to know what happened. When they see that napkin, in their head they’re going to know not to touch it. I just want everybody to be careful. Physically, I'm ok but emotionally, mentally, I'm not. I don't even want to go anywhere by myself." 

We reached out to the restaurant where the incident occurred to see if other patrons reported similar events, but we have not heard back from them as of Thursday night.