Having a job in customer service isn’t an easy task. It’s a job that requires interacting with many people from different backgrounds. Employees can easily recall stories that happened while being on the clock. But a Hispanic woman was left in shock after trying to help a Wal-Mart customer who told her to "go to your own" country.
The incident occurred on February 23 in Irving, Texas – a city with a population of about 230,000 not far from Dallas.
The Hispanic employee, named Adela, told The Dallas Morning News that she began recording the encounter on her phone after the man asked for a white employee to help him at Wal-Mart's optical center.
She called him out for being racist, but he continued by making remarks about an African-American woman sitting in an electric wheelchair.
“Look at that, who do you think pays her hospital bills?” the man asked Adela, who is originally from El Salvador. He went on to answer his own question:
"I do. I pay her hospital bills. She’s a foreigner. She came over here. She got sick and fat and obese, and she can’t do anything. She can’t work. But I have to pay her bills. See what I mean? Am I fat and obese? I go to work every day. I pay taxes."
Adela responded by saying, “OK, me, too. I pay my own taxes, too.” The unidentified man then laughed while he said:
"All these foreigners are living off of us good working white people. Yes, I’m just telling you the truth. It’s all right. I know you ain’t leaving. I know you’re here to stay. Y’all should go to your own countries and fix up your own countries."
Adela stopped the man from speaking any further. “OK, sir, I don’t want to hear that anymore. That’s it,” she told him. She then called over her supervisor, who had been occupied with a conference call.
Adela only wanted to be identified by her first name because she fears for her well-being. The naturalized citizen of 20 years said:
"It has hurt me a lot because we are working people. We pay taxes. We have children who study in college."
She showed the footage to her supervisor, who immediately asked two Wal-Mart employees to keep an eye out for the man.
“I told her I was in shock,” Adela said. “I didn’t know what to do, whether to cry. I felt very bad.” This was the first time she has dealt with discrimination. Later that day, the man called to cancel a follow-up appointment.