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Florida Taco Bell employee refuses to help client who doesn't speak Spanish

An employee of a Taco Bell in Hialeah, Fla. (not pictured) refused to take the order of a woman who did not speak Spanish. (Dreamstime)  1240451
An employee of a Taco Bell in Hialeah, Fla. (not pictured) refused to take the order of a woman who did not speak Spanish. (Dreamstime) 1240451
Published Sep. 14, 2018

MIAMI - A video of an argument with a Taco Bell employee in Hialeah, Fla., has unleashed a wave of indignation on social media.

The incident happened on Wednesday night, when Alexandria Montgomery was trying to place an order - in English - at a Taco Bell drive-thru window at 785 East 9th St. The employee refused to take her order because she wasn't speaking Spanish.

In the video, which was posted Thursday night, Montgomery asked the annoyed woman "Do you have a manager here?"

"She is in her house sleeping," the employee replied in Spanish in a dismissive tone. There was no one else to take the order, the employee claimed.

"Honey, I have a car behind you," the employee says in Spanish and closes the window.

"Can you move, please? I have an order behind you. There is no one who speaks English," the woman tells Montgomery in the video and threatens to call the police.

"This is Hialeah, I'm sorry," she said in Spanish.

Two other Taco Bell workers approached the drive thru window when they heard the altercation, but apparently they did not try to help the client.

"No more, papi," the clerk said in Spanish to a man who was in the car with Montgomery and was trying to argue that they were in the United States.

Finally, they had to leave without making an order.

"This incident happened Wednesday night around 10:30 p.m. I contacted the manager and after explaining to her what happened all she did was apologize and say thank you and the call was disconnected," Montgomery told el Nuevo Herald.

Taco Bell Corp. told el Nuevo Herald that "this does not meet our customer service expectations."

"We have worked quickly to resolve with the customer to ensure this doesn't happen again," a spokesperson said.

In an update Montgomery made hours later, she added that "Luisa," as the Taco Bell employee identified herself, had been fired and that it was not even her real name.

Comments on Facebook were mostly supportive of Montgomery, who described the incident as "racist."

"Hialeah is still part of Florida and, as far as I remember, correct me if I'm wrong, Florida is part of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, it's a country where English is the language we speak. This is a shame for the Hispanic / Latino community (sic)," commented a Facebook user.

"Wow, if Latinos do not speak English we try to understand each other. Money is money. I have attended deaf people, Chinese, Mexicans, Americans, the important thing is to be treated with respect," wrote another user - in Spanish.

Hialeah, a city of nearly 225,000 in Miami-Dade County, is considered the city with the largest Hispanic population in the United States.

About 89 percent of its residents speak Spanish as a first or second language, and more than 94 percent consider themselves Hispanic or Latino, according to the 2010 census.