The COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on many aspects of our daily lives, including the way we eat at restaurants. Many restaurants in America have adopted this model. CDC recommendationsReduce the risk of COVID-19-related infections
As they plan how to implement the recommendations, they should also consider the needs of individuals within their communities.
Unfortunately, one Los Angeles, Dunkin’ Donuts failed to do this. Shannon Heroux (deaf) was therefore shocked to be turned away by Dunkin’ Donuts when she attempted to order.
Refused Service to the Deaf
Two-part emotional story. TikTok video, Shannon Heroux shares her tearful experience.
“As you guys can probably tell, I’m emotional. A little while ago, I got refused service from a Dunkin’ Donuts because I’m deaf,”She said this as she wiped away the tears.
“I couldn’t process it. I was confused. I couldn’t hear anything. I wear a cochlear implant, but I was not wearing it at that time. I’ve never been refused service before, and it hurts. It hurts really bad,”Heroux cried.
Shannon explained to Shannon that Shannon was deaf. She requested that the employee temporarily take off their mask so that Shannon could see their lips. She informed the manager that the employee refused to remove their mask temporarily. Unfortunately, the manager wasn’t helpful. Heroux described the manager’s agitation as “agitated”, and said he was “going off.”
Heroux noticed that the manager was constantly waving his hands as Heroux pleaded for him. She kept telling him that she couldn’t hear him and that lipreading was needed.
She continued, “He refused to write anything down. He refused to pull his mask down. We’re six feet apart. There’s plexiglass to the side. I’m wearing my mask.”
Shannon cried, “What more do you want from us? We struggle so much during this pandemic. Enough is enough!”
In a heartbreaking conclusion to her viral video, Heroux describes how she could sense that the manager didn’t believe she was deaf. “He didn’t believe I was deaf because I speak so well. It’s a blessing and a curse,”She said.
Spreading Deaf Awareness
Heroux’s experience is heartbreaking. Heroux’s story is a powerful reminder that there is a stigma that surrounds deaf people and that it must be removed. Many people are unaware of the consequences of hearing loss and how they affect individuals.
“It’s very important the world understands that not every deaf person is equal. By that I mean, there’s different stages and different circumstances,” Heroux explains.
Shannon describes herself as a gifted lip reader who communicates extraordinarily well. She describes herself as a talented lip reader who communicates exceptionally well. “You’d never know I was deaf unless I tell you.”She has had to struggle since the pandemic as her lipreading ability was eliminated by masks.
She affirms: “If there were no masks today, I could still operate this world deaf because the advantage of lipreading would be there and no one would be the wiser.”
Establishments should recognize that not all people will be able to wear masks. Unfortanately, this is especially true for those who can’t communicate effectively, making communication through masks incredibly challenging.
This unprecedented time should allow for reasonable modifications to these customers.
According to the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), examples of these modifications include “repeating words, writing notes on a whiteboard, using voice-to-text programs on a smart phone or tablet, and using clear masks, face shields, or plexiglass instead of a cloth face mask during communications.”
Sadly, Heroux’s visit to Dunkin’ Donuts did not include any of these measures or indicated a willingness to cooperate at the time of her visit. However, a recent TikTok videoHeroux reported that Dunkin had since apologized to Heroux and is now improving its measures.