Spanish-speaking Taco Bell worker fired for refusing English-speaker
A Spanish-speaking Taco Bell employee in the US was fired after video emerged of her refusing to serve an English-speaking woman in Florida.
During the argument at a drive-thru window in Hialeah, north of Miami, the worker said no-one there spoke English.
Taco Bell told US media that the staff member “no longer works for the brand”.
Alexandria Montgomery, the African-American woman who posted the video on Thursday, described the incident as “racist”.
“This lady understood what I was saying but didn’t want to take my order,” Ms Montgomery shared on Facebook.
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The video, which was viewed over 100,000 times, shows Ms Montgomery repeatedly trying to order.
At one point she asks why she cannot not simply place her order using the numbers next to the menu items.
“Luisa”, as she was identified in the video, repeatedly claimed in Spanish none of the staff at the Taco Bell branch spoke English, at one point adding, “This is Hialeah, I’m sorry.”
More than 94% of Hialeah residents identify as Hispanic and more than 90% speak Spanish as a first or second language, according to census data.
The Taco Bell worker also threatened to call the police, after Ms Montgomery refused to leave on Wednesday evening.
When Ms Montgomery asked for the manager, the woman replied in Spanish in a dismissive tone: “She is in her house sleeping.”
“I contacted the manager and after explaining to her what happened, all she did was apologise and say thank you, and the call was disconnected,” Ms Montgomery told El Nuevo Herald.
She later wrote on Facebook that “Luisa” had given her a false name and was actually the “general manager on that shift”.
Taco Bell declined to answer questions about the incident, but acknowledged it did “not meet our customer experience expectations”.
“We have worked quickly to resolve with the customer to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” it said in a statement.
The US is home to 53m native and bilingual Spanish speakers, according to census data – 16% of the population.