Want to speak English at a Taco Bell in Florida? Tú no puedes.
Imagine a Taco Bell drive-thru refusing to serve someone who doesn’t speak English. Can you imagine the uproar if that happened anywhere in America? Imagine, even worse, that the person to whom service was refused on that basis was a “person of color.” Can you imagine the tearing out of hair and the wailing on television if that happened, if someone refused service to a person for not speaking English? Which may not be the official language governmentally but certainly is the historically and majority-spoken national language of this country.
But that’s not what happened here. What happened in Hialeah, Florida was not someone refused service for NOT speaking English, but instead someone refused service for speaking ONLY English. Or rather, at least, for not speaking Spanish.
The woman speaking in the video is Alexandria Montgomery, who posted her video of the incident on Facebook, where it went viral. She described the incident as “racist” and tagged the NAACP in the post.
Here’s more from the Miami Herald.
The incident happened on Wednesday night, when Alexandria Montgomery was trying to place an order — in English — at a Taco Bell drive thru window at 785 East Ninth St. The employee refused to take her order because she wasn’t speaking Spanish.
In the video, which was posted Thursday night, Montgomery asked the annoyed woman, “Do you have a manager here?”
“She is in her house sleeping,” the employee replied in Spanish in a dismissive tone. There was no one else to take the order, the employee claimed.
“Honey, I have a car behind you,” the employee says in Spanish and closes the window.
“Can you move please? I have an order behind you. There is no one who speaks English,” the woman tells Montgomery in the video and threatens to call the police.
“This is Hialeah, I’m sorry,” she said in Spanish.
Two other Taco Bell workers approached the drive thru window when they heard the altercation, but apparently they did not try to help the client.
“No more, papi,” the clerk said in Spanish to a man who was in the car with Montgomery and was trying to argue that they were in the United States.
Finally, they had to leave without making an order.
“This is Hialeah.” That’s ownership talking. This is our turf, where English speakers (or maybe black girls?) are not welcome.
The employee was fired, said Taco Bell in a statement, and Montgomery adds that she was offered a $100 gift card to Taco Bell.
“A gift card is not gonna just solve the problem, it’s not gonna give me justice,” she told the Miami Herald. “Don’t try to like sweep it under the rug.”
Just a reminder, we’re talking about a state in the United States. Ay, dios mio.