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I was denied service at the McD's in Terminal B at PIT this morning!

I was denied service at the McD's in Terminal B at PIT this morning!

Old Sep 26, 04, 9:29 am
  #1  
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Angry I was denied service at the McD's in Terminal B at PIT this morning!

Mods - I'm posting this in the US forum because the following happened to me while I was at PIT, a US hub, & I'd like to encourage US customers to not eat at the McDonald's in Terminal B at PIT. If you feel this should be moved to Travelbuzz or somewhere else, please do.

So I was on a redeye from PHX-PIT this morning, got in around 6AM. My flight to DCA left at 7.45 this morning. My traveling companion & I decided to grab breakfast at the McDonald's in Terminal B between flights. My friend orders a drink & a breakfast pastry - he pays, no problems. I start to order, and the Swing Supervisor (thanks Nokia camera phone) refuses to erve me. She says that I have germs & that she won't serve me unless I wash my hands. My hands were no dirtier than any other customer that has eaten at that establishment. I asked her if she was kidding - she said "I don't want your germs - I deal with food - I've got to wash my hands & so do you!" Note that she was wearing a not-so-clean-looking hand brace.

She didn't have any problems accepting my (white) friend's money - nor did she seem to have any problems accepting the orders from the US Airways F/A's who were in line behind me - who actually left in disgust with this woman. I honestly believe that this woman was being racist (I'm brown, I'm not the guy in the picture though) as she didn't have any problems accepting anyone elses money. I went back up about 3-4 minutes later to ask her for her name (which she wouldn't give me) - and she didn't have any problems accepting other customers cash when I went up there. I used the airport courtesy phones to find out who to contact about a complaint about a vendor - they just gave me a phone number (which no one answered & didn't have voicemail - Sunday morning around 7AM, go figure). I called the McDonald's customer service line & they said they'd look into it. I will also be calling the BBB in PIT & will also file a complaint with the ACLU.

I don't think that I've ever been so offended or insulted or pissed off in my entire life.

Last edited by bhatnasx; Sep 29, 04 at 9:57 am
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Old Sep 26, 04, 10:05 am
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Upsetting this happened to you. Upsetting this could happen to anyone! Racism is as ugly when it is blatant like this as when it is subtle.

The SJC airport has a website and I was able to find a link to the email for the manager who has been immediately and postively responsive to suggestions I"ve made.

Maybe PIT also has this way of contacting. I'm not sure if the responsibility lies with the airport or McDonalds. Or both. If you don't get satisfaction, a local investigative reporter might do a news spot.

Sylvia
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Old Sep 26, 04, 10:07 am
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WOW..... thats awful.... unreal.
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Old Sep 26, 04, 10:39 am
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Unbelievable. Maybe the local Pittsburgh TV and newspaper operations have tip emails on their websites. Send them your story AND the link to the phone-camera photo.
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Old Sep 26, 04, 10:39 am
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Sounds like this woman was unstable or something. And she looks really, really trashy in that picture, if that makes you fell any better . .
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Old Sep 26, 04, 10:45 am
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I would have just called the police......
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Old Sep 26, 04, 10:51 am
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I strongly suggest that you contact a lawyer. This woman had no right to refuse to serve you -- be it because of your race or any other reason.

Even if someone did go to McDonald's with particularly filthy hands, they would be given a meal wrapped in paper and would not present a health hazard to anyone else -- so her stated reason is not sufficient to deny you service.
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Old Sep 26, 04, 11:00 am
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Thanks for the replies & to the people that sent me PMs.

I checked with the BBB & they don't service cases of possible discrimination & the ACLU site says that it may take several weeks for a case review. I will contact some of the press that you have mentioned. I don't think I will contact a lawyer just yet as I would prefer to await a response from McDonalds & the franchise company. I will also be contacting the airport people tomorrow when they are open.

Dovster - I didn't notice a sign at this particular location, but at other establishments, I have seen signs that have said "We reserve the right to refuse service." - I don't know if that really is a right or if it's just a sign though.
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Old Sep 26, 04, 11:02 am
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Originally Posted by jcrb
I would have just called the police......
I would have, except I had 15 minutes til boarding & this would be something that would take longer than 15 minutes to resolve. I didn't notice if this restaurant had video cameras (most McDonald's do, I think), but if it did, the whole interaction would have been caught on tape.
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Old Sep 26, 04, 11:29 am
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Unbelievable

It certainly does sound like you have grounds for a strong complaint here. I am not sure about the legal merits, but her objection simply doesn't make sense. How does she know what germs you might or might not have? I see construction workers lining up for lunch at McD all the time w/o having showered down before entering, ordering, paying and taking out their food.
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Old Sep 26, 04, 11:30 am
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Originally Posted by bhatnasx
I would have, except I had 15 minutes til boarding & this would be something that would take longer than 15 minutes to resolve. I didn't notice if this restaurant had video cameras (most McDonald's do, I think), but if it did, the whole interaction would have been caught on tape.
Yes but if you don't get a lawyer to do something about it, that tape will not be kept for very long.
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Old Sep 26, 04, 11:31 am
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Three Words

First Group of three - Get a Lawyer

Department of Justice

IMO waiting for a response from Mickey D is a waste of time. Prepare a complete and detailed narrative of your version of events while it is fresh in your mind.

IIRC you can file charges with DOJ (Department of Justice) yourself.

Once the narrative is complete, contact EVERY media outlet in the immediate PIT area.

Write a letter to the Mr Onorato at Alleghany County Airport Authority. Letters to the local government leaders as well. If you're in a really pizzy mood include senators Spector and Santorum in your mail campaign.

My experience is the harder and faster you hit the more likelyhood the issue will be addressed.

I was with a person of color in a Denny's many years ago and if anyone thinks ths kind of stuff doesn't happen, think again. Every word of the allegations against Denny's was true based upon my personal observation. This thing at PIT needs to be nipped in the bud.
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Old Sep 26, 04, 11:31 am
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Originally Posted by jcrb
I would have just called the police......
Why? It's not a police matter.
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Old Sep 26, 04, 11:38 am
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Originally Posted by bhatnasx

Dovster - I didn't notice a sign at this particular location, but at other establishments, I have seen signs that have said "We reserve the right to refuse service." - I don't know if that really is a right or if it's just a sign though.
There are circumstances where a restaurant can refuse service (eg: if you do not meet their dress code) but that does not seem to be the situation here.

You were in a publicly-owned facility (the airport) and McD's is a concessionaire there -- which increases its responsibility to serve all comers without extremely good reason.

You have a very valid case, but as noted above do not delay -- get a lawyer who can subpoena that film.
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Old Sep 26, 04, 11:44 am
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Not a good time for McD's

This is an absolute disgrace. Hopefully a forum such as this may be able to aid you in your case.

McD's in the Philadelphia Area has been in the press far too often lately because they have refused to provide death benefits to the family of a recently-promoted supervisor when a car crashed into one of their restaurants. With a lot of pressure I believe they have finally settled with the family.

Once you get us the contact info of the execs at McDonald's, post here and we'll start writing!
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