A Puerto Rican man who was doing his job as a manager at a Burger King in Florida encountered two elderly women who wanted to file a complaint after hearing him speak Spanish. The two women were triggered after Ricardo Castillo started a conversation about paperwork in Spanish with a new employee. According to The Daily Commercial, they complained shortly after.
He assumed it was about food and offered to help them and was instead faced with ignorant comments about speaking his native language in the U.S. The heated July 6 exchange was recorded by Neyzha Borrero, a Puerto Rican woman who was eating with her boyfriend, Oni Martinez, who is Mexican. The five-minute video has been viewed nearly 200k times.
“This is America,” one of the women can be heard saying. “Our main language is English … Speak your Mexican at home.”
“If you want to keep speaking Spanish, go back to your Mexican country,” one of the women goes on to say.
“Guess what ma’am, I’m not Mexican,” Castillo replied. “You’re being very prejudice and I want you out of my restaurant right now.”
“This isn’t your restaurant,” one yelled back.
Castillo threatened to call the police and have them issue a trespass order and then informed them that the owner of that location was Mexican.
“I have nothing to say to you ma’am,” he said. “Just have a nice day and don’t come back.”
The Eustis restaurant is located about 40 miles north of Orlando, a city in Lake County that is predominately white, nearly 75 percent according to the 2010 census, with only a little less than 12 percent Latino residents.
“I’ve never had that experience before,” said Castillo, who has worked in management for 18 years, told The Daily Commercial.
“I was very surprised (at) his reaction,” Borrero said.“I think even though he was being verbally attacked and discriminated, he handled (it) very, very well. He never used profanity to them. He never insulted them, he just asked them to leave and never come back to his restaurant.”
“No human being deserves to be spoken to and disrespected like that,” Martinez said.
This isn’t the first instance of individuals being harassed for speaking Spanish in a public place. In February of this year, a white couple confronted a group of Spanish-speaking restaurant managers at Tampico Mexican Restaurant in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
Similar to this incident, they yelled “English is our first language, so you need to speak English,” and “Get the f*ck out of my country.” Just like Castillo, the managers were U.S. citizens. Castillo has watched the viral video and said he doesn’t regret how he reacted stating he was never disrespectful.
Burger King said the owner of the Eustis restaurant is “looking into the matter,” according to NBC News. “There is no place for discrimination in our restaurants,” Dori Alvarez, a Burger King spokesperson told NBC News. “We expect employees and guests to treat each other with respect.”