A Taco Bell in South Florida fired an employee who wouldn’t serve a customer who doesn’t speak Spanish, CBS Miami reports. The customer, Alexandria Montgomery, filmed the encounter and told CBS Miami the incident made her feel like she didn’t “belong” in her own country.
Montgomery pulled up at a Taco Bell drive-thru in Hialeah on Wednesday night to order a quesadilla, CBS Miami reports. She couldn’t place her order over the intercom because she couldn’t understand what the employee was saying. She pulled up to the window, hoping to communicate better face-to-face –– but that only made things more frustrating, as shown by a three-minute video shot by Montgomery.
“So you can’t take my order? You don’t understand what I’m saying,” she said.
The unidentified employee shut the window, making Montgomery even more confused over the situation.
“I’m trying to order and she tell me I can’t order because I don’t speak English. Who’s wrong? What did I do wrong?” she said.
During the dispute, the Taco Bell employee apologizes in Spanish that no one working at the restaurant speaks English. But at one point, the worker threatened to call police because she wouldn’t move her vehicle.
The employee pointed out that the store is in Hialeah, which has one of the largest Spanish-speaking populations in the U.S.
“That doesn’t mean nothing, ‘Because this is Hialeah,'” she said. “This is America!”
CBS Miami received a statement from Taco Bell’s corporate office: “This does not meet our customer experience expectations. We have worked quickly to resolve with the customer to ensure this doesn’t happen again. The individual no longer works for the brand.”
Days later, Montgomery reflected on the incident.
“It really made me feel like I don’t belong here and I grew up here my whole life,” she told CBS Miami on Friday.
Montgomery uploaded the video on Facebook and it went viral, gathering thousands of comments and shares.
She also followed up with a Taco Bell store manager and received an apology. She voiced her concerns with corporate leaders too, saying she thought it’s important for the community to know that these language and cultural barriers exist, and more should be done to knock them down.
“I want this to get out so people can know and be aware of situations like this so it does not happen again,” Montgomery said.
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