Chili’s restaurant withholds fundraised money for Albuquerque carjacking victim

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In September of last year, KRQE News 13 reported about an Albuquerque woman who was carjacked trying to help people jump start a car. After the incident, her son set up a fundraiser at Chili’s restaurants around the city, but the woman never benefited from that fundraiser.

It was at the Hobby Lobby on Juan Tabo that Cecilia Haldane was carjacked. Two carjackers lured her into helping them jump start their car. Once she agreed, things got violent and Haldane suffered some serious injuries.

“I had a cut foot. I had a fractured hip. I had a lacerated liver, my pancreas, my lung was punctured, and three rib fractures,” she said.

In October 2016, her son, Gary Haldane, stepped in to help by setting up a fundraiser at all the Chili’s locations in the Albuquerque metro. Diners could donate 10-15 percent of their bill to Cecilia to cover expenses stemming from the incident. Gary worked at the Chili’s on Wyoming and Paseo and asked a manager to help.

“They could do a Give Back event, and she was really gung-ho about it. She got the ball rolling on it,” he said.

A month after the fundraiser, Cecilia continued to recover in the hospital. Gary contacted Chili’s to see if any money had been donated.

“They said they weren’t sure if anything came in, they haven’t heard of anything coming in at all,” he said.

But Cecilia didn’t buy it and said a few of her co-workers went to support her.

“A couple people in the ER where I used to work, they went there too,” she said.

In a statement to KRQE News 13, a spokesperson for Chili’s said they are looking into how this could’ve happened. They are also working on getting her the donations and apologize for the oversight.

While mother and son do appreciate the response, Cecilia said it doesn’t feel genuine.

“It feels like the only reason they followed through was because you called them. I think if you didn’t call them, they probably would’ve just let it go,” she said.

Chili’s told Cecilia she raised $1,170 from the initial fundraiser. With the oversight, they ended up giving her $2,500. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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