TAMPA, Florida — Officials at a 7-Eleven store in Tampa are apologizing after video of one of its employees berating a customer for speaking Spanish went viral.
This is the response the 7-Eleven clerk gave the man recording the video after he asked for a pack of cigarettes in broken English.
“Do you have papers? Is he here legally?”
Yasmany Rodriguez recorded the video after a few bystanders stepped in to defend him. The video quickly spread online.
Carlos Perez is one of the individuals who spoke up for Rodriguez, who is a legal U.S. citizen who moved to Tampa from Cuba.
“Racism is not dead. Stop the ignorance,” Perez said. “It’s unfair. You’re not allowed to treat people like that, no matter what.”
A spokesperson for 7-Eleven emailed the below statement to WFTS:
“Every customer is important. The statements made by the sales associate were inappropriate and offensive. We are investigating the matter and will ensure it is handled appropriately.”
“It was uncalled for,” Perez said.
Regardless of the outcome, Perez was willing to stand out in the heat, hoping the video and his sign wouldn’t go unnoticed.
“I’m here to represent the Spanish community. We cannot single-handedly stop racism, but we can let these people know that we are not going to tolerate this kind of attitude and we will not be belittled,” Perez said.
A manager at the 7-Eleven where this incident occurred said the situation has been handled, but wouldn’t elaborate.