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Burger King faces backlash after employee refused to serve a deaf customer

The chain says its servers will now undergo sensitivity training.
/ Source: TODAY

Burger King is finding itself in hot water after an Oklahoma City restaurant employee refused to serve a mother who is deaf because the location was "too busy."

On August 21, Rachel Hollis was driving with her sons and stopped into a Burger King drive-thru to buy some food.

“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," Hollis told Oklahoma City's KFOR through an interpreter.

But when she handed her order to the employee at the window, Hollis said she was met with a "face of frustration.”

The sever, who has not been identified, immediately denied her service and told Hollis that she'd have to come inside the restaurant. Since her young sons were asleep in the car, Hollis said she didn't want to go inside and leave them alone. As the employee at the window continued to shake his head, Hollis started recording the incident. In the video, the employee passes Hollis a note that reads: “Can’t do a full order at the window. Too busy.”

The employee can then be heard saying, "You have to come inside. It's too busy. Too busy ma'am, 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." The employee then shuts the window.

Hollis refused to leave the window, however, and that's when the situation escalated. She alleges that police were called to the restaurant. “I’ve never experienced anything like that, for someone to call the police,” Hollis told KFOR. “That’s crazy, it just doesn’t seem right.”

After waiting at the window, Hollis said that another employee eventually took her order but the incident was still upsetting because she knew her sons were watching.

“I could tell they knew something was going on, I was just trying to keep them calm," Hollis said. "I said I’ll explain it to you when we get home. But they knew something was going on.”

Hollis said she decided to share her story to bring awareness to the issues that many people in the deaf community face every day.

As the story spread across social media, many expressed support for Hollis and blasted Burger King.

When reached via email, a representative for the fast food chain confirmed that the incident did occur and told TODAY the employee seen 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 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,” said the rep.

When asked exactly what the training would entail or how new policies would be enforced, the representative would not elaborate.