UPDATE, June 3, 2016: Avis responded with an official statement.
The customer saga that Kayra M. Colón had with Avis this weekend was made public when Colon shared a public May 1 video post on Facebook:
Twenty minutes after that video was posted, Colón posted this one:
At one point in that second video, after Colón starts talking in Spanish with the man she was with, the woman at the Avis counter said, “That’s fine. I do understand some Spanish. You know, what you do is rude.”
When Colón asked the Avis woman exactly what she meant by that comment, the woman appeared to have stopped conducting business with Colon.
On May 2, Colón added a longer video that apparently happened after the exchange about speaking Spanish:
When people on Facebook started asking questions about the incident, Colón did post the following on her Facebook:
Nothing has happened. We’re waiting for corporate to contact us. They said it would be about 2-3 days. The sheriff came in and said the situation would fall under a federal law and could not even write up a report. The lady ultimately got her way and refused to rent us the vehicle.
We tweeted out Avis this morning to see if they are aware of these videos:
Hi @Avis, are you aware of this video and the complaint you received from it? https://t.co/dD7Qtie2lP
— Latino Rebels (@latinorebels) May 4, 2016
We haven’t gotten a response from Avis, but Avis’ Twitter profile did tweet this out this morning:
@latinorebels Update. https://t.co/3P6yJiWxxg
— LunaSea (Osuntomiwa) (@Sol_Murrell) May 4, 2016
@Sol_Murrell We are in touch with the customer regarding this.
— Avis Car Rental (@Avis) May 4, 2016
Around 11:45amET, we got this tweet from Avis:
@latinorebels We have a zero tolerance policy for discrimination and we are investigating.
— Avis Car Rental (@Avis) May 4, 2016
This reminds me of something that happened to us last night. My classmates and I (francophones from all over the world, and most of us don’t speak much English) went out to a restaurant to celebrate end of the year. A few of my classmates who don’t speak much English tried to make their orders and the waitress became very frustrated with them and insisted they speak English, and stormed off. When she cooled off and came backI translated for them and things were fine, but I was surprised at how she could become so offended by another language, when it wasn’t their fault that they don’t speak English. Maybe she was just having a bad day, and nothing like what happened in this article/videos happened (no denial of service) but I felt like we came close to it. So sad that there is so much ignorance.
GabsyPascoe As a Canadian, I find that weird. You don’t have to go far to find someone that speaks French and if she was that frustrated, why couldn’t she find another staff member with more French knowledge and whatever happened to “point to what you want”? It works fine. I live in Europe and I do it all the time..Hungary, Czech, France, Spain, etc etc.
Also, was the waitress first gen Canadian or culturally Canadian. There is a difference. As a 4th gen Japanese Canadian, I notice these things. There is a difference in mindset and perception.
I guess there is always one in every crowd.
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