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A Burger King manager kicked two elderly women out of the restaurant when they told him, “Go back to Mexico” for speaking Spanish.
Customer Neyzha Nicole was having lunch with her boyfriend at the Eustis, Florida restaurant on Saturday when two women berated general manager Ricardo Castillo, who had been speaking to an associate in Spanish. “The situation got out of control,” Nicole, 24, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
According to Nicole, Castillo first believed the women didn’t like their food and had offered them free desserts and store credit. However, he learned that his Spanish was the problem.
In Nicole’s video, one of the women told Castillo, “Go back to Mexico if you want to keep speaking Spanish.”
Castillo, who is Puerto Rican, responded, “Guess what, ma’am? I’m not Mexican. You’re being prejudiced and I want you out of my restaurant right now.”
A woman protested, “I am not prejudiced.”
“You’re very rude,” said one woman. “...Doesn’t he speak English?” about Castillo’s employee.
“This isn’t Puerto Rico or Mexico — this is America. Our main language is English,” said a woman. “Speak your Mexican at home...this is still America. You should speak American English.”
When Nicole turns the camera directly onto the women, one said, “Go back to Mexico. [If you want to] keep speaking Spanish, go back to your Mexican country. Your state, your country.”
When Castillo informed the women that he’s not Mexican, he adds, “You’re being very prejudiced and I want you out of my restaurant right now.”
One woman said she would finish her meal first but Castillo said he would call the police and report the pair for trespassing. He called the women “ignorant and disrespectful” adding, “And you know what? The owner of this restaurant is Mexican.”
No one at the Burger King location picked up the phone when called for comment by Yahoo Lifestyle. Castillo told the Daily Commercial, “I was not disrespectful at any time, but I did tell them they had to leave the restaurant. The only couple that was sitting down in the lobby was a Puerto Rican female and a Mexican guy. They told me after, ‘We felt offended.’ The best thing to do was to get the people out of the restaurant.”
Castillo, a father-of-four who has been commended by management for helping non-English speaking customers, added, “We’re going to apologize and be professional, but we can’t have that type of environment at a store.”
A Burger King spokesperson tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “There is no place for discrimination in our restaurants. We expect employees and guests to treat each other with respect. This incident took place at a franchised restaurant and the owner is looking into the matter.”
Nicole says Castillo was still upset after the women left. As he told the Daily Commercial, “I can’t believe that at this age there’s still people like that. We’re all the same. We’re all human beings. We bleed red.”
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