Food & Drink

Watch a Wrongfully Imprisoned Man Enjoy His First Fast Food in 36 Years

If you had been stuck in jail for decades for no good reason, what would be your first act as a free man? Would you immediately board a party yacht to the Caribbean? Dance through the park with various woodland creatures? For Michael Hanline, the choice was clear: get a Mile High Bacon Cheeseburger from Carl's Jr.

Hanline was released from jail late last year after serving the longest wrongful incarceration in California history. When he finally walked out of prison, he asked his wife and lawyers to take him to Carl's Jr. for the "burger in the commercials." This was apparently the Mile High, which Hanline happily devoured with fries and a large soda. (His team made sure he had the biggest option of everything, because this was definitely a treat yourself day.) The man declared the commercial did it justice before stepping outside for a ton of group photos.

Hanline was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of J.T. McGarry back in 1980. Although he had nothing to do with the man's death, some crooked lawyers had conspired against him before the trial even began, and he wound up in a Ventura County jail. The California Innocence Project eventually stepped in and got Hanline's conviction overturned. He had served 36 years. You can read more about his story here. Needless to say, the man deserves many, many more Mile High Bacon Cheeseburgers.

Kristin Hunt is a Food/Drink staff writer for Thrillist, and would require an immediate burrito and pizza if she was in Michael Hanline's position. Follow her to freedom at @kristin_hunt.