Burger King employee fired for denying deaf woman service

Photo: Roland Magnusson (iStock)

One of the more basic aspects of good customer service is helping and demonstrating respect for all customers, regardless of any additional needs they may have from time to time. At a Burger King in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, a deaf customer experienced the precise opposite of good customer service when she was allegedly disrespected by an employee for attempting to use the drive-thru.

KFOR reports of the situation, in which Rachel Hollis attempted to place an order directly at the drive-thru’s cashier window, only to be declined service by one of the Burger King’s employees: “I had my order ready, I had it typed on my phone. 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.” In a video taken by Hollis (which can be found in the above link), the employee eventually passes her a note which read “Can’t do a full order at the window. Too busy.”

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Hollis remains at the drive-thru window, at which point the employee returns to loudly exclaim that she won’t be served, and that it has nothing to do with her disability, before slamming the window shut. Newsweek additionally reports that the restaurant then called the police after she refused to leave. Hollis later told KFOR that “When I got home, that was when I really broke down. I was very upset, I was crying, I was very tired. I’m tired of discrimination.”

While Burger King has already confirmed that the employee in the video was fired, and that others at the location will receive additional training, the unfortunate incident offers a reminder that every customer at a restaurant (or anywhere else) is worthy of accommodation, and that refusing accommodation is among the crueler things one person can do to another. Access may not work the same way for all people, but striving to make it work for all is both a necessity and a responsibility.

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