An argument between a Burger King manager in Eustis, Florida and two elderly patrons is trending on Facebook today. They were upset the Puerto Rican man spoke Spanish to an employee.
EUSTIS — A video of a heated interaction at a Eustis Burger King is making its way around social media.
A woman posted a video July 6 of two older women arguing with a Burger King manager about him speaking Spanish to another employee. The video eventually was shared on the Mt. Dora/Eustis Word of Mouth Facebook page and now has more than 17,000 views.
“This is America,” one of the women can be heard saying. “Our main language is English ... Speak your Mexican at home.”
The general manager, Ricardo Castillo, can be seen in the video ordering the women to leave the restaurant after telling them they were being prejudiced, disrespectful and ignorant.
Castillo is from Puerto Rico, an American territory.
The five-minute video shows a back-and-forth involving Castillo and the two women, whose identities are not known.
“If you want to keep speaking Spanish, go back to your Mexican country,” one of the women said.
“Guess what ma’am, I’m not Mexican,” he replied. “You’re being very prejudiced 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.
“I have nothing to say to you ma’am,” he said. “Just have a nice day and don’t come back.”
The Daily Commercial reached out to Burger King for comment, but did not hear back by deadline.
In an interview, Castillo said he was shocked by the ladies’ reaction.
He said he was doing paperwork when a new employee initiated a conversation in Spanish. After they spoke, the two women said they had a complaint.
Thinking it was about their food, Castillo offered to help them.
“I said, ‘Is everything OK? I’ll help you get it fixed,’” he said.
That’s when they told Castillo the first time that he needed to speak English in America.
“I’ve never had that experience before,” said Castillo, who has worked in management for 18 years.
Neyzha Borrero was eating with her boyfriend, Oni Martinez, when the conversation began. When it escalated, she started recording a video on her phone, which she ultimately shared to Facebook.
“I was very surprised (at) his reaction,” said Borrero, who is also Puerto Rican. “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.”
Martinez, who is Mexican, agreed.
“No human being deserves to be spoken to and disrespected like that,” he said.
Both Borrero and Martinez are Umatilla residents and said they have witnessed similar interactions.
“Nobody should been discriminated (against) because they speak another language," Borrero said. "Talking another language is something to feel proud of."
Castillo said being bilingual is an asset in his profession. His store has even been commended for hiring bilingual staffers, he added.
“We get a lot of people here who come into the store and they don’t speak English, and we help them out with their orders,” Castillo said.
He didn’t know Borrero was filming at the time, but Castillo has since watched the video over and over.
“I even asked myself, ‘Did I do it right or did I do it wrong?’” Castillo said.
Ultimately, Castillo said he doesn’t regret his reaction.
“I was not disrespectful at any time, but I did tell them they had to leave the restaurant,” he said. “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 said that if the older ladies come back, they will be issued a trespassing order.
“We’re going to apologize and be professional, but we can’t have that type of environment at a store,” he said.
Castillo, who is married to a white woman and has four daughters, is still reeling from the incident.
He’s struggling to wrap his head around it.
“I can’t believe that at this age there’s still people like that,” Castillo said. “We’re all the same. We’re all human beings. We bleed red.”
This story originally published to dailycommercial.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the GateHouse Media network.