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Drive-thru worker fired after allegedly refusing to serve deaf customer

A Burger King employee was fired at refusing service to a woman who is deaf.
A Burger King employee was fired at refusing service to a woman who is deaf. KFOR

Burger King says it has fired an employee after an Oklahoma woman who is deaf said he refused to serve her at the drive-thru because it was “too busy.”

Rachel Hollis says she stopped at the popular restaurant to pick up dinner on the way home from her sons’ hockey practice, only to be turned away by an employee at the drive-thru window.

In video obtained by local broadcast station KFOR of the Aug. 21 incident, the fast-food chain employee can be seen slipping Hollis a note under the window that reads: “Can’t do a full order at the window. Too busy.” Hollis recorded the video on her phone.

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“I had my order ready, I had it typed on my phone,” Hollis explained to the station through an interpreter. “I do that often when I go through drive-thrus, it hasn’t ever been an issue. I show him my order, and he gives me this face of frustration.”

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That was when she began recording. The video shows the note and numerous frustrated interactions between the two.

“You have to come inside. It’s too busy,” the unidentified employee can be heard saying.

“Too busy ma’am,” he continues. “I can’t do a full order at the window, I’m sorry. It has nothing to do with your disability. I have a disability, too.”

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He then slams the window shut.

Hollis says her kids knew something was wrong at that point, but she stayed calm in the moment.

Once she got home, however, she unravelled.

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“That was when I really broke down,” she said. “I was very upset, I was crying, I was very tired. I’m tired of discrimination.”

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According to a statement released by Burger King, the employee has since been let go and the rest of that location’s team will undergo extra training.

“All guests should be treated with respect and provided with a high level of service at our restaurants,” the statement reads.

“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.”

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Hollis is now pursuing a lawsuit against the restaurant for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

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