When an American citizen goes through a Taco Bell drive thru, they expect to be able to place an order in English. At many Taco Bells around the nation, they can even place their order in Spanish. In Hialeah, Florida, Spanish is apparently required.
Alexandria Montgomery and a male companion went to the Taco Bell at 785 East Ninth Street on Hialeah. They were told that nobody at the fast food restaurant spoke English, so she drove up the drive thru window and recorded the encounter. What transpired led to a viral Facebook post, an apology from Taco Bell corporate offices, and the drive thru employee losing her job.
“I simply wanted a quesadilla, and that’s not hard to understand in Spanish, because I think it’s a Spanish word,” she said to WSVN-TV.
Hialeah is considered to have the country’s largest Hispanic population, according to the Miami Herald, which cited census data.
There are those who believe everyone who lives in America should speak English. I don’t believe it’s a requirement, but I also can’t believe there are places like this that will not accommodate English speakers. 94% of the population of Hialeah identifies as Latino or Hispanic, making it the city with the largest Hispanic population in the United States. Nevertheless, this is still the United States of America.
If people choose not to speak English, they will have challenges to overcome but they can still be active and beneficial members of society. However, it is unacceptable that those who only speak English should be denied service even if they are in a city that mostly speaks other languages.
Is it a double-standard? Perhaps. But America has thrived with a vast majority that speaks English and many minorities who conform to our cultural norms. The type of reverse discrimination Montgomery experienced is rare, but it was nonexistent just a decade ago.
If your business wants to accommodate those who do not speak English, great. If not, so be it. But if you run a business in America, it better accommodate those who DO speak English. That shouldn’t even be up for debate.