Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
Se Pasó is a daily opinion column where Vivianna tackles entertainment, news, and pop culture with her bold and fearless voice. In other words, she says exactly what you are thinking.
When I first read a headline from the Latino Rebels site about how an Avis representative refused to let a customer, who spoke Spanish, rent a car, I was in disbelief. Time and time again I ask myself what year it is, and remember that it is 2016.
Kayra M. Colon documented the encounter with the lady at the Avis center and wrote, "Yes. This happend [sic] today. This lady at Avis Car Rental within the the Santa Rosa Mall, in Fort Walton Beach Florida, refused to rent us a car because we were speaking Spanish. She completely just refused to help even after assisting 5 more people in front of us."
You can see the Avis worker walking around and not saying a word. Though you don't get much context from what's going on with this situation, Colon went on to post a follow-up video that gives you a little more insight as to what went down.
It appears that the man Colon was translating to was her father, and the Avis woman was not pleased about the Spanish interaction at all. "That’s fine. I do understand some Spanish. You know, what you do is rude," said the lady at the counter. Except, I don't see what's rude about it at all.
Colon was having her entire interaction with the woman in English and seemed to be translating it in Spanish to the man she was with. And no, Colon wasn't saying anything terrible about the woman in español, she simply told him, "Papi, I need your driver's license." As simple as that — if the Avis worker knew any Spanish, she would have known that there was no harm in that statement.
You can clearly tell that the Avis worker is refusing to give Colon the service that she needed. There was no uproar, no fight, and no lashing out, but she still reached out to the police claiming that they were being "disruptive."
In a longer video (below) you can hear Colon questioning the worker's motive for not wanting to rent them the car, and the woman looks flustered and dumbfounded — maybe she realized she was being racist. So what gives, Avis? The company clearly has a bilingual-friendly site that caters to its Spanish speaking customers — even though I'd like to point out, again, that Colon was speaking directly to her in English.
According to Latino Rebels, Colon issued a follow-up comment about the incident on Facebook saying, "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."
It's completely unfair that they were denied the right to rent their vehicle because someone else felt offended that they were speaking in Spanish, even though they were handling the business directly with her in English. I'm interested to see if Avis releases a statement about the matter, because for now, they've lost me as a customer and any of my other friends or family — and it looks like I'm not the only one who shares this sentiment, if you read the spot-on reactions from people in the comments section of the videos. Until they do right, this was so wrong.