Deaf woman suing Burger King for calling police on her after drive-thru denial

[Transcript] A Deaf woman from Oklahoma, Rachel Hollis, was denied service at a Burger King drive-thru on August 21 in Oklahoma City. She filmed employees telling her to come inside because they were too busy. A Burger King employee dialed 911 on her and a police officer was sent.

Hollis said her children were in the car with her.

Hollis is now working with an attorney, Cameron Spradling, and the Oklahoma Disability Law Center to sue Burger King.

The attorney Spradling provided “The Daily Moth” with a video of a Burger King manager, handing Hollis a note saying, “I can’t do a full order at the window — Too Busy!”

[Video (0:00 to 0:20) and image of “too busy” handwritten note]

Hollis did not move her car and after more than a minute, the same employee opened the window, gestured for her to come in, and appeared to mouth “police.” He continued to speak. KFOR 4 News said the man said, “It has nothing to do with your disability, I have a disability too.”

[Video (0:21 to 0:40).]

After the manager slammed the window, Hollis’ video shows a female employee on a cellphone. Spradling said this is the 911 call. He provided me with the audio of the call and I got it transcribed. I will show you two portions of it.

[Transcript of 911 call]

911: And what's the deal with her? What's going on?

BK Employee: Well, she's, um, she's deaf and we're really, really busy, and I asked if she would come inside and we could take her order in here. She just signed her order, a really big order, in the drive through, and, uh, we're not busy on the inside and I have like my drive through wrapped. Like, she just pulled up to this window, and my drive through all the way wrapped around.

911: Okay.

BK Employee: And so I asked her if she would come inside.


911: Okay, and she is still in your drive through?

BK Employee: Yes, she is.

911: And what is she saying? Or what is -

BK Employee: She’s just, she just has her phone out, and she’s trying to take pictures and stuff.

911: Okay. All right, we’ll get someone out there.

BK Employee: Okay, thank you.


After about a minute and a half, another Burger King employee by the window speaks briefly with Hollis before the video cuts off.

[Video (0:41 to end)]

Hollis said she mouthed the words, “Can you help me?,” and that the window employee mouthed, “I don’t know… I think so. Okay, what is your order?”

Hollis stopped recording at this point so she could use her phone to display the order. The window employee typed down the price of the order on Hollis’ phone, $13.09, then informed her that police had been called.

Hollis was able to get her order and drove away at the same time a police cruiser pulled up. Hollis said she was not sure if the officers followed her, but she went home without any incidents.

Spradling said Hollis never received a receipt for the order and that Burger King has never said that she was served. He suspects the window employee never rang it up and served her so that Hollis could leave before she was arrested.

Spradling said the time Burger King spent denying her service and calling the police could have simply been used to be kind and serve her an order.

NBC’s Today received a statement from Burger King that said the restaurant owner has reached out to the guest and her family to apologize, has terminated the employee (apparently the manager), and that all the employees at that location will undergo additional training.

Hollis told “The Daily Moth” that she is grateful that her story has been on news outlets around the world, but is disheartened by people’s cruel and prejudiced comments. She said she was accused of setting up the whole thing just to get money.

Hollis said Burger King has not apologized to her directly. Hollis said the franchise owner, Switchgrass, called her sister to explain they have fired the (manager), but did not contact her directly.

Hollis and attorney said they have not heard from Burger King since they sent their letter about their intentions to take legal action.

Spradling, in the letter to Burger King, said said they would pursue all available remedies including injunctive relief, actual damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.


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