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English-Speaking Taco Bell Customer Says She Was Denied Service Over Language Barrier

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Alexandria Montgomery says she wanted a quesadilla at Taco Bell in Hialeah on Wednesday night. But she not only left hungry. She also left wondering about her place in South Florida.

Montgomery said she couldn't place her order at the intercom because she couldn't comprehend what the employee was saying. She hoped she'd be able to communicate her order face to face at the window. But cell phone video that Alexandria recorded shows things did not improve.

"There are cars back there," the employee said, as Montgomery and a friend are sitting at the window. "No one here speaks English."

Montgomery was in disbelief.

"So you can't take my order? You don't understand what I'm saying?" she said on the recording.

Montgomery recorded the cell phone video at the Taco Bell in Hialeah on East 9th Street. The interaction at the drive-thru window lasted several minutes and Montgomery said one thing that jarred her was when the employee shut the window on her.

"That was very rude because I told her I'm not moving until you take my order," Montgomery told CBS 4 News.

After the window shut, Montgomery becomes frustrated.

"I'm trying to order and she tell me I can't order because I don't speak English. Who's wrong? What did I do wrong?" she said on the video.

At one point, the Taco Bell employee appears to say that she can't understand her and that the store is in Hialeah.

"That doesn't mean nothing — 'Cuz this is Hialeah!' This is America!" Montgomery is heard saying on the video.

On Friday, Montgomery reflected on the situation.

"It really made me feel like I don't belong here and I grew up here my whole life," she said.

Montgomery posted the video to Facebook and it got lots of attention. She followed up with the Taco Bell store manager and said she received an apology. She also spoke with their corporate leaders, too. Montgomery feels it's important for the community to know that these language and cultural barriers happen — even in a melting pot like South Florida — and we all should work harder to prevent them.

"I want this to get out so people can know and be aware of situations like this so it does not happen again," she said.

CBS 4 News reached out to Taco Bell's corporate office. They told us in a statement, "This does not meet our customer experience expectations. We have worked quickly to resolve with the customer to ensure this doesn't happen again. The individual no longer works for the brand."

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