A man says he and his friend were denied service at an East Bay Jack in the Box because they are deaf and couldn’t talk to an employee.
San Francisco resident Cesar Ayala told NBC Bay Area Wednesday that he was visiting a college friend in Livermore last weekend when they wanted to get something to eat. Both men are deaf.
Ayala signed for NBC Bay Area's interview while another friend translated.
“We were like. ‘Hey, let’s go get something to eat,’” Ayala said. “We were both hungry.”
Ayala said they went to a Livermore Jack in the Box drive-thru at around 1 a.m. Sunday. He added that’s when the trouble started.
“So, we drove up to the window and I saw the employee in there. I waived to try and get his attention and gestured I couldn’t hear and tried showing him my phone,” Ayala said.
Ayala and his friend took video of them trying to communicate with the employee after several attempts.
“So, I’m pointing to the phone and I’m like ‘hey can you read this?’ and he waves his hand "no," waves a finger at me, and says something. He looks like he’s angry and slams the window on me,” Ayala said. “Then it just really felt like, umm, it was just really frustrating.”
NBC Bay Area blurred the employee’s face because we were unable to get a comment from him Wednesday night.
At one point, the man is heard on the video saying he’s going on break. But Ayala claimed the driver behind them was able to place an order through the call box. Something they said that they weren’t able to do.
“It was my first time going through something like that. It’s happened to other deaf people. I’m aware of it happening to other deaf people in the past,” Ayala said. “We've seen other situations like this come up across the country. I feel like I’m really fighting for them too at this point.”
Ayala said that he wouldn’t leave. That’s when someone at the restaurant called police.
Livermore police told NBC Bay Area Wednesday that they responded but determined it was a civil issue, not criminal.
NBC Bay Area reached out to the Jack in the Box’s media relations and haven’t heard back yet.
Ayala wanted to share his story in the hopes companies will educate their employees for these situations.
“When somebody is hired, those people should be trained on how to work with the deaf and disabled thoroughly to make sure their customers are given complete access. So, education is the most important part,” he said.