VERDUN – Christine Kovacs has lived in Verdun her entire life.
According to her, the Montreal neighbourhood is usually pretty calm, but early Monday morning, an incident at her local gas station got pretty loud.
“The gentleman that was there, maybe 18, 19 [years old], wouldn’t let me in and told me I had to go to the intercom. I’ve never had to do that before,” she told Global News.
“Then, when I explained to him that I couldn’t hear him and the intercom wasn’t working, he allowed me access to the gas station.”
Kovacs said she entered the Petro-Canada, grabbed what she needed and called her husband to make sure she wasn’t forgetting anything.
It was then, she explained, that the employee started to yell at her.
“I was still on the phone with my husband and I go, ‘what’s the problem, I’ll be done in a few minutes, I’m not gonna be here long,'” said Kovacs.
“He started cussing at me and [said], ‘oh, we don’t want you here, we don’t serve your kind here. This is Quebec. We speak French.'”
Kovacs said she believes the verbal assault was prompted by the fact she was speaking English, not French.
She said she was both shocked and appalled at the employee’s behaviour, so she decided to confront the manager of the station.
After telling him her story, the manager began to apologize on the employee’s behalf and thanked Kovacs for bringing the incident to his attention.
He told her that he would deal with the employee accordingly.
“I was surprised,” she said.
“But I was happy that he was willing to give me the apology and he wasn’t apologizing to get rid of me, he was honestly sincere.”
The manager declined to be formally interviewed on camera, but in a statement to Global News he said:
“After watching the incident on our surveillance cameras, I have concluded that nothing justifies such an act. The employee in question has already received a warning for the use of aggressive language towards clients. Over the next few days, the appropriate measures will be taken to reprimand the employee.”
Meanwhile, Kovacs said, while she appreciates the apology, she wants to see how the employee will be reprimanded before ever going back.
“Most people in Quebec, in Montreal, we speak French,” said Kovacs.
“But some of us speak English also. I was just surprised living in Verdun my whole life that someone would say that to me.”
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.