Service DENIED

Woman Denied Service

A blogger in the United States, named Karen, gives us an online peak into her world through her blog – “A Deaf Mom Shares Her World”. I first became introduced to her blog through a link that Lynn provided on moodle. The first blog I read by Karen was written about an incident that occurred a few weeks ago. Karen had just picked up her son from school and was on her way to pick up her daughter when they decided to stop at the “Steak and Shake” for a couple of milk shakes. The drive though was empty, and since Karen is deaf, she drove past the speaker and directly to the drive thru window to be serviced. After waiting at the window for a few minutes she beeped her car horn. When she didn’t receive a response she honked again. Finally a man came to the window and she explained to him that she didn’t order at the speaker because she can’t hear. She attempted to place an order for two milkshakes when the young man refused and told her she’d have to drive around again and place the order at the speaker. She again told him she couldn’t hear and that wouldn’t work. He proceeded to say, “No, it’s our policy. You’ll have to just drive around and tell me your order and then I can take your order.” Karen then informed the Steak and Shake worker of the Americans with Disabilities Act and that taking orders at windows was an accommodation that she needs. He then persisted and said that she should have told him that at the speaker. Another car pulled up to the speaker and Karen told him she was going to file a complaint at the corporate office if he didn’t take her order. He said he was going to call the cops on her for disrupting a business! The man shut the window in her face. Karen sat there and waited for him to come back. She asked for his name and his supervisor’s name. She wasn’t going to let this one go! Good for her I thought!

No person, with or without a disability, deserves to go through this. What was wrong with this guy? Did he have some sort of chip on his shoulder? Something against women? The fact that the drive thru was completely empty when Karen pulled up and was told to drive back around completely floored me! Your number one responsibility is to serve your customers. You don’t have any other job! The drive thru is empty, you’ve got nothing else to do but take her order! I worked at McDonalds for three years and never in my life would have refused to take someone’s order that drove up to the window, especially a deaf woman! In fact, I’ve taken hundreds and hundreds of orders at the window for many different reasons. Windows that wouldn’t roll down, mufflers too loud, deaf people, seniors who couldn’t hear me through the speaker, people who just liked ordering at the window better and customers who just simply forgot to place their order at the speaker! Who cares that she didn’t use the speaker, it happens all the freakin time! It sounds to me like this guy was on some sort of power trip. Shame on him for treating Karen so disrespectfully.

This story does not end here. Karen did receive an email and a telephone call from someone at Steak and Shakes human resource department. They had a meeting and Karen shared her story and even suggested ways that Steak and Shake could improve their service to customers with disabilities.

The next day, Karen posted a comment that someone had anonymously sent her about a handicapped aunt who is “too demanding”. The anonymous commenter suggested to Karen that she was and the manager were both being rude to each other and that the manager felt that he had been abused by Karen! Karen posted her comment and then replied to it. I couldn’t believe that she had to defend herself AGAIN to someone. But I guess even when you have thousands of supporters, there’s always someone on the other side of the fence.

Karen’s Steak and Shake story has since become national news. Her story has been featured on major news networks and there are hundreds of websites featuring her story. I hope the Steak and Shake worker and every other person who has read or heard about this story have learned a lesson from this. Treat everyone equally and with respect.


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