Deaf Customer Upset With McDonald's Over Treatment

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COLUMBUS, Neb. (WOWT) -- A clash between a customer and the company: the video captured at a Columbus, Nebraska drive-through went viral recently.

Just two hours into the New Year, Jonathan Ramos arrived at the McDonald’s drive-through window. His frustration in trying to place an order is evident in the use of his car horn, something, he himself, doesn't hear. It struck a nerve with one of the employees.

Video captured an employee’s response: "You can leave or I'm going to call police. Do you get that one?"

Ramos has been in Columbus for less than a year and has ordered at the McDonald’s before. He’s deaf. Chicken pox took his hearing when he was a little boy. He doesn't read lips.

After exchanging texts and emails, WOWT 6 News met with Ramos outside the restaurant. We used a legal pad to write down any follow-up questions and answers during the interview.

He said he wanted to order a #9. He explained he usually types the information on his phone and then shows the order to the employee.

Because of his disability, he felt the workers were ignoring him by leaving the window.

After this exchange, Ramos said the employees need a serious lesson in dealing with hearing- impaired customers.

The owners of this McDonald's told WOWT it was a matter of misunderstanding and miscommunication. They said that earlier in the video when workers left the window on New Year's Day, they weren't discriminating against Jonathan, but getting a pen and paper to get the order.

From Jonathan Ramos' cellphone video, workers wrote this note: "You need to leave or we will call the police."

Employees did call police, saying that he refused to move forward in the drive through.

The owners tell WOWT 6 News that his minute-long video is only part of the story; that their own driver-though security cameras paint a different picture of Ramos disrupting a busy drive-through by honking his horn for nine minutes before turning his own video recorder on. Ramos disputes that account.

When asked if he thought it was all a misunderstanding, Ramos shrugged his shoulders. Ramos went on to explain that there’s no excuse for how he was treated. He plans to sue for discrimination.

For the restaurant's part, owners admit tempers flared but that neither side communicated well. They said deaf customers usually bypass the speaker and go straight to the window to hand them a piece of paper with the order.

After the incident, the McDonald’s now keeps a pad and pen near the drive-through window in order to better communicate with the deaf community.

Ramos hopes he's opened some eyes for every worker when it comes to dealing with those with a disability. He wishes more drive-through restaurants would add cameras near the ordering speaker so the deaf community could easier communicate with the employees.

The McDonald's owners in Columbus say Jonathan Ramos is welcome at the restaurant any time.