Burger King Employee Fired After Refusing to Serve Deaf Woman Because Restaurant Was 'Too Busy'
An Oklahoma mother who is deaf says a Burger King employee refused to accept her order at the drive-thru because the restaurant was “too busy” to accommodate her hearing impairment.
Rachel Hollis shared video footage of the Aug. 21 incident, when an employee at an Oklahoma City Burger King slipped her a note through the drive-thru window that read “Can’t do a full order at the window. Too busy.”
Hollis told KFOR that she had just picked up her two sons from hockey practice when she stopped at the fast-food restaurant. Because she is deaf, she typed out her order on her cell phone, which she said she does often. But this time it wasn’t good enough.
“I show him my order, and he gives me this face of frustration,” she recalled to KFOR.
The employee told her, “You have to come inside. It is too busy. Too busy, ma’am …it has nothing to do with your disability. I have a disability too.”
A Burger King spokesperson tells PEOPLE that the employee in the video has been fired.
“All guests should be treated with respect and provided with a high level of service at our restaurants,” the spokesperson says in a statement. “The restaurant owner has reached out to the guest and her family to apologize, the employee was terminated and all employees at the location will undergo additional sensitivity training to ensure our customers always feel welcomed.”
Hollis told KFOR that she began recording the exchange when she started feeling uneasy. She recalled the moment the employee slammed the window shut, noting that it was difficult to have her children witness it. Another employee eventually took her order, she said.
“This man was stubborn. He completely ignored me. It was like I was nobody,” she told the station. “I just wanted my food. They should treat me like hearing customers.”
She said that police arrived but did not question her, according to KFOR.
“I was very upset, I was crying, I was very tired. I’m tired of discrimination,” she said. “I’ve never experienced anything like that, for someone to call the police. That’s crazy, it just doesn’t seem right.”
Social media users weighed in on the incident, calling the employee’s behavior “sick” and “outrageously wrong.” Now, employees at the Burger King location are expected to undergo sensitivity training, KFOR reported.
“They have to train their employees, ’cause this is going to continue to happen over and over again,” Hollis said.