FAIRLAWN - When is a free sample not exactly free?

At Summit Mall last month, it was the day a ruckus over a sliver of chicken sandwich sent a regular shopper into yearlong exile and sparked a call for reinforcements from Fairlawn police that authorities have since tried to keep quiet.

But Jean Coleman -- the 71-year-old Akron woman at the epicenter of it all -- has a different idea.

She wants the whole world to know that the threat that brought nearly half of Fairlawn's fleet of police cruisers to the mall's defense began when her 68-year-old sister asked a restaurant worker for a second helping of a chicken sandwich sample.

Looking back at the snack debacle, Coleman said the whole thing started Feb. 23 with a broken toothpick -- or at least that's when the screaming started.

Before that, everything was calm in the mall food court with passers-by partaking of the bite-sized buffet of deli sandwiches, pizza slices and tiny paper cups filled with spicy Chinese food.

And then, well, all culinary hell broke loose.

``All of a sudden, this woman was yelling: `YOU ATE THAT! YOU CAN'T HAVE ANOTHER ONE!' ''

Coleman -- who is 5 foot 4 and 130 pounds -- rushed to the aid of her little sister.

Both women took their stand in front of the sample lady who was guarding what remained of the chicken sandwich slivers.

And Coleman admits, she yelled right back.

``I told her, `I DON'T CARE IF YOU GIVE IT TO US! YOU'RE NOT WORTHY TO GIVE IT TO US!' ''

More than a month later, Coleman is still seething.

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