Deaf man denied service at Ohio Taco Bell
KETTERING, Ohio (WRGT/WKEF) — A deaf man attempted to order Taco Bell in Ohio on New Year's Eve but had the police called on him instead.
Brandon Washburn's girlfriend captured video of the incident and his mother posted it on her Facebook page where it was viewed more than 400,000 times in 24 hours. Brandon typically drives straight to the payment window to show his order on his phone but that night, a Taco Bell worker refused him service saying it was against company policy.
"He’s had to work extra hard, harder than everyone else to prove himself, that’s he smart and that he can do everything," said Becky Burch, Brandon's mother. "So just something easy as going through a drive thru to get food and they’re like no, he just didn’t understand."
Brandon didn't need to be able to hear to know something else was happening.
"It was like they were mocking me, making fun of me. And there was even a gentleman in the back giving peace signs,” Brandon said as his mom interpreted.
Eventually, the Taco Bell worker called the police on Brandon. Brandon says those officers went inside and told the worker Brandon was in the right.
They even offered to get food for Brandon, but at that point he just wanted to go home.
Taco Bell released a statement Thursday about the incident saying “Taco Bell has a fundamental policy to respect all of our customers and employees, and we are committed to maintaining an environment free of discrimination or harassment. The franchise owner and operator of this location has investigated this situation and the team member no longer works for their organization. All team members at this restaurant are being retrained by the franchise owner on their policies.”
But Brandon wants to make sure every person who sees the video learns a lesson from what happened.
"It’s a start but it’s just going to keep happening again according to Brandon, it’s just way bigger than that. We just need to make sure everyone is educated," Brandon and his mother said.
They also say they've been overwhelmed with the support they've received from the video going viral and that it's shown them that there are more good people out there than bad.