It’s amazing to me that a year later, people still remember the Steak ‘n Shake incident where my son and I were denied service at the drive-thru window of the Bolingbrook Steak ‘n Shake. I still receive comments from time to time, and with the exception of two that were literally nasty comments, I’ve published every one of them.
Carol, a lady who bills herself as the friend of the still-employed trainer, left the following comment recently:
As a friend of the SnS manager who didn’t serve you, I just wanted to throw this out there-
Obviously what he did was wrong, since this is America and he works for a corporation and you can’t just not serve people. It would be great if SnS had a better drive thru board to better help assist all types of customers that need extra assistance for whatever reason. I’m sure that’s not in their budget at this time, however.
From his point of view,I believe, the reason he didn’t serve you is because he through you were being very rude in the drive thru. When you work in a drive thru, you get many, many, many rude customers. Sometimes it can really push you close to wanting to snap on someone, as he did you. I believe he told you as you pulled up to the window that “he wasn’t going to not serve you because you were deaf, he was going to not serve you because you were being rude.”
I guess what I’m really getting at is that there is another side of the story out there that doesn’t really get much mention, and this seems like a classic case of a manager dealing with a lot of stress on his shift and snapping on the wrong person. Not the right thing to do by any means, but maybe it really has less to do with deafness than meets the eye.
Let’s go over this one more time, shall we? I pulled up to the drive-through window and when the window opened, I explained that I could not use the speaker because I couldn’t hear and ordered two milkshakes. I was told to go around again. The trainer probably figured I just couldn’t hear clearly. I calmly explained again why I needed to give my order through the window and why going around again wasn’t the solution. The trainer kept insisting that it was company policy and that I needed to place my order at the speaker.
Yes, Carol, at that point, I’m sure on the company’s videotape, it must have looked like a rude customer was ripe and ready for an argument. After all, like every other customer, all I wanted was for the guy to do his job, which was to take my order, fill it, and send me on my merry way. Instead, I had to explain why an accommodation was needed at the drive-thru window and defend my reasons for not being able to use the speaker. The trainer had chance after chance to change his method of delivering customer service and fill the order. Instead, HE chose to threaten the cops, shut the window (not once, but twice) and leave me empty-handed.
Let me remind you that he failed to follow the Steak ‘n Shake corporation’s customer service delivery model. He had several chances to redeem himself as an employee and satisfy the customer, but he failed to do so. If the company had a policy in place for customers with disabilities as well as a drive-thru modification, chances are good that my son and I would have drove off that day happily enjoying our milkshakes.
Yes, Carol, there are two sides to every story, but when it comes to discrimination in the drive-thru, this story is pretty straightforward: My son and I were denied equal right to the same service that customers without disabilities experience in the drive-thru.