A Taco Bell employee in Hialeah, Florida was fired from her job after a viral video showed her apparently refusing to serve a female customer because the woman wouldn’t place her order in Spanish.
According to the Miami Herald, the incident happened on Wednesday night in the Spanish-speaking town of Hialeah, as a woman named Alexandria Montgomery placed her order in English at a Taco Bell drive-thru window. As shown on the video if the incident, which was posted on social media on Thursday, both Montgomery and the Taco Bell worker both seemed to be losing their patience with each other.
Unhappy at not being served as expected, Montgomery then asked for a manager, but was told by the Taco Bell employee, in Spanish, that the manager was “in her house sleeping.” The Miami Herald described the employee’s tone as “dismissive” as she added that there wasn’t anyone else who could take Montgomery’s order.
“Honey, I have a car behind you,” the employee reportedly told Montgomery in Spanish before closing the drive-thru window.
“Can you move, please? I have an order behind you. There is no one who speaks English.”
“This is Hialeah, I’m sorry.”
As further noted by the Miami Herald, there were two other Taco Bell employees who rushed to their coworker’s aid during the incident, but they were not able to provide any assistance to Montgomery and her male companion. The publication wrote that one of the workers continued to tell the man off in Spanish after he maintained that he and Montgomery were in the United States. After this exchange, Montgomery and her companion left the Taco Bell after failing to order anything.
Reporter Jeff Weinsier of ABC affiliate Local 10 News spoke with a clerk at the same Taco Bell where Montgomery was denied service, and while the clerk said that she speaks English and that people can order food in English, she refused to provide comment on the altercation. The station also interviewed Montgomery, who recalled the incident and suggested that the employees she argued with likely understood what she was saying, despite the apparent language barrier.
“I’m not mad or anything, but I just feel totally disrespected,” she added.
Florida Taco Bell employee fired after refusing to serve customer who wouldn't speak Spanish https://t.co/Qhu7Pc8bG5— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 15, 2018
In a statement issued to the Miami Herald, a representative from Taco Bell Corp. said that the company was made aware of the issue and had spoken with Montgomery to resolve the issue, stressing that the incident is an example of something that “does not meet our customer service expectations.” The fast-food chain added in a separate statement that the employee, who reportedly identified herself as “Luisa” despite that not being her real name, had been fired from her job.
Facebook users who reacted to Alexandria Montgomery’s video were largely in support of the customer, with several users commenting that the incident was “racist” and that the Taco Bell employee did not treat Montgomery and her companion with respect.
“Hialeah is still part of Florida and, as far as I remember, correct me if I’m wrong, Florida is part of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, it’s a country where English is the language we speak. This is a shame for the Hispanic / Latino community,” wrote one user.