The United States is home to 41 million native Spanish speakers, accounting for about 13% of the country’s population, per the BBC. While many of those Spanish speakers are also proficient in English, some are not, which can lead to interesting situations.
One such instance recently went viral after being posted on TikTok. In a video with over 414,000 views, Texas-based TikToker Paloma (@epaloma650) claimed that a McDonald’s drive-thru operator asked her Spanish-speaking friend to assist in completing an order for another customer.
@epaloma650 I aint ever seen anything more ghetto 😭 #greenscreenvideo #fyp ♬ gah damn – Nala Rawr
In the video, Paloma’s friend has a drive-thru headset on and is translating another customer’s order to the McDonald’s staff.
“Ik damn well they didn’t just ask her to take a Spanish order,” Paloma wrote in the text overlaying the video.
In comments, users called out McDonald’s, with many saying that Paloma’s friend should receive recognition or payment from the company.
“@McDonald’s Gotta give this girl some compensation,” one user wrote.
“Better hit up Ronald for that check,” a second added.
A third user inquired whether Paloma and her friend got their order comped, asking, “Did you guys get your food for free at least?”
Paloma replied that they did not.
While the video surprised many, others claimed that they had either observed this practice or done the same thing while working in a customer service role.
“I DID THIS BEFORE WHEN I WORKED AT TACOBELL LFMAOAOAOA,” one user alleged.
“I used to make my ex do this,” another recalled. “I would literally call him, my Spanish is so bad.”
“This has happened to me a few times lol,” a further user wrote. “I didn’t mind but throw a little something for free in my bag.”
“This happened to me at the optometrist,” a commenter shared. “right after my eye exam they asked if I could answer a call for them and even took down the person info.”
Additional users pointed out that, if the McDonald’s employee wanted to learn Spanish, a customer service role was a great way to practice.
As one user wrote, “I learned more spanish working at a fast food restraunt than in high school.”
Update 2:32pm CT August 6: In a TikTok DM exchange with Daily Dot, Paloma offered more context about the events in the video.
“My friend and I had been hanging for a while, so we decided to go to McDonald’s. So she order[s] our meals, and we pull up to the window to pay. When we get up there the employee tells us our total. We didn’t get a chance to take out the money because she quickly takes off her headset and asks my friend if she could take the order because she wasn’t a Spanish speaker,” she explained.
However, Paloma stressed that the worker didn’t pressure her friend to take over the order.
“The employee was super nice about it and didn’t force her to take it,” she says. “My friend willingly took the headset and began translating the order back to the employee.”
“I didn’t really expect it to blow up as it did,” Paloma says of the video. “I just thought I was posting a little funny moment!”
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