Steak 'N Shake Manager Denies Drive-Thru Service To Deaf Mother

A Steak ‘N Shake manager refused to serve Karen Putz, a deaf mother of three, after she asked to place her order at the drive-thru window as allowed by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The manager claimed it was “policy” to force Karen to order like any other customer:

“You’ll have to drive around again so I can take your order through the speaker,” the guy said.

“I can’t hear back there, so I’ll need you to take my order here,” I explained.

“No, it’s our policy. You’ll have to just drive around and tell me your order and then I can take your order.”

“I can’t use the speaker, which is why I’m at the window giving you my order here!” I started raising my voice a little, as I was getting frustrated at the hoops he was putting me through.

So I told him about the Americans with Disabilities Act and I explained that taking orders through the window is an accommodation that I need because I can’t use the speaker to place an order.

He kept insisting that orders need to be taken at the speaker. “If you had just let me know at the speaker that you needed accommodations then I could take your order through the window.”

“But I’m DEAF! I can’t hear on the speaker! When I drove up, the first thing that I told you was that I couldn’t order back there because I can’t hear through the speaker.”

“No, you didn’t tell me that,” he said. “If you had told me about your disability then I could have accommodated you.”

I sat there flabbergasted. I was getting more upset by the minute. All I wanted was the dang shakes! Then another car pulled up behind us.

“Look, if you’re not going to take my order, I’m going to file a complaint and let the corporate office know about this.”

“Well, I can call the cops on you for disrupting the business and holding up the drive thru.”

“You’re going to call the cops on me? I’m just trying to get service here!”

“I’m done with you.” He abruptly shut the window, threw up his hands and walked away.

Steak ‘N Shake’s corporate overlords have apologized to Karen and asked to arrange meeting with the thoughtless manager. Karen wants the manager to apologize, which given the circumstance, is quite reasonable. A few free milkshakes wouldn’t hurt either.

Steak and Shake Denies Service [A Deaf Mom Shares Her World]
(Photo: hkboyee)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Honus says:

    Oh that manager is in for it. The ADA is no joke.

  2. Shappie says:

    Wow, just wow. …and I thought the crappy service at McDonalds was something to talk about.

  3. chersolly says:

    First they call the cops on grandmas who want salt-free fries. Then they threaten a deaf woman with a call. What’s next? Am I going to get tazed for wanting an extra pickles?

  4. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    No excuse for this sort of ignorance. Don’t they train their managers adequately? (Guess not…)

  5. B says:

    Mmmmm, beef milkshakes.

  6. CaptainSemantics says:

    @honus: Yeah, one thing I’ve learned in my life is to not screw around with ADA compliance. They will eat you for lunch.

  7. CaptainSemantics says:

    @CaptainSemantics: I just realized I said “eat you for lunch” while talking about something that happened at Steak n’ Shake. Great, now I want cheese fries…

  8. cde says:

    They probably record the speaker transactions for “quality service”.

  9. CaptainSemantics says:

    @cde: Now THAT would be irony!

  10. kc-guy says:

    I wonder what the civil/criminal fines/penalties for a violation of the ADA are going to cost?

  11. stinkingbob says:

    Honestly, I find that the loudspeakers at the drive thru are quite loud enough even for somebody who is half-deaf.
    Now, I always hate when people assume the worst of businesses when it comes to people with disabilities. For some reason, we seem to throw logic and reason out the window. The disabled person is always right. Wrong. Many times, some disabled people are rather prude and ignorant. They believe they should be given 100% preferential treatment even if they are in the wrong.This is what I hate. We just heard 1 side of the story (the lady’s. I want to hear the managers side as well. So, before we pass judgement, lets hear both sides first. Lastly, if this lady can’t hear well, why is she driving aroun with 3 kids? Isn’t that a safety hazzard? What happens if there is an emergency and she can’t hear the ambulance approaching or the cops approachinig or the kids yelling?

  12. hordeofragingmonks says:

    @stinkingbob: Heaven forbid if a deaf person decides to become a mother. And may god have mercy on our souls if she decides to take care of her children.

  13. nequam says:

    @stinkingbob: “Honestly, I find that the loudspeakers at the drive thru are quite loud enough even for somebody who is half-deaf.” Well, then, I guess that settles it! Ass.

    BTW, we did hear both sides of the story: the “corporate overlords have apologized.”

  14. embean says:

    I’m pretty sure a deaf person would be RIGHT about not being able to hear anything. And I have a feeling volume doesn’t make a difference when you’re DEAF.

  15. cde says:

    @stinkingbob: If her hearing was that big of a safety issue, she would be denied a license, which the ADA would check for while investigating the case.

  16. Tracy Ham and Eggs says:

    @stinkingbob: Im pretty pro-business and even I am going with the customer 100% here. I dont think it was malicious, but this was a case of a bad, and ignorant, manager making life hard on someone for no reason. Im sure he was just trying to enforce policy as he understood it, but 3 brain cells should be enough to realize that when someone says they are in need of special assistance you help them.

    (My guess, they have a timer on transactions, and her skipping the speaker and coming to the counter will slow down the times for everyone who has ordered from the speaker since she passed it, maybe to the point the manager would get in trouble. )

  17. picantel says:


    Why is it that everytime I see you post something you are always bashing the consumer. You are a moron and a disgrace to the human race. Feel free to flag that you jackass.

  18. cde says:

    @stinkingbob: Also, how big of an issue would it be to let her order at the window? Is that 100% preferential? No, its a simple, understandable request.

  19. astrochimp says:

    @embean: “And I have a feeling volume doesn’t make a difference when you’re DEAF.

    You do realize there’s plenty of middle ground between having perfect hearing and having no hearing whatsoever, right?

  20. mikemar42 says:

    If I was def I would go inside to order, it would be simpler and easier for both parties involved. I wouldn’t make a big deal about it. This is just complaining not discrimination. If I was def I wouldn’t expect special treatment everywhere I went. I usually go in to order anyway because they fuck you at the drive thru. THEY FUCK YOU AT THE DRIVE THRU THEY ALWAYS DO IT. THEY KNOW YOU’LL BE A MILE AWAY BEFORE YOU NOTICE. THEY FUCK YOU AT THE DRIVE THRU, EVERY TIME.

    caps lock is cruise control for cool.

    • Brian Andrew Milburn says:


      This is a blindly obvious case of discrimination. And what is wrong with respect for varying abilities – just take the farking order at the drive-through window. Using the contemptuous words “special treatment” doesn’t mean that the act itself should also be degrading.

      In Rochester, New York, where there’s an immense deaf population, every drive-through joint has common sense to respect deaf people’s cans and can’t-dos.

  21. bradanomics says:

    @Tracy Ham and Eggs:

    Whew, it’s a good thing that he avoided getting into trouble.

    Oh wait…

  22. Landru says:

    @stinkingbob: Are you half-deaf? Then how do you know?

  23. embean says:

    yes of course there’s middle ground. but, you can either hear enough to order at the speaker, or you can’t. she obviously couldn’t. I don’t see what the issue is.

  24. MustyBuckets says:

    @stinkingbob: I’m not sure if you are just unfamiliar with the hard of hearing or just trying to get people upset.

    Hard of hearing and deaf people often cannot hear emergency sirens behind them, correct. The thing is they aren’t blind, and there aren’t invisible cop cars going around.

    My college has a NTID college with it, which basically means many deaf or hard of hearing students go with the fully hearing students. I will agree 100 percent that many of them will use their disability to try to get away with many things. I wouldn’t say that hearing people do it any less, but they just don’t have a disability to blame for their actions.

    The fact of the matter is according to ADA, hard of hearing customers are allowed to order at a window instead of the loud speaker. It’s not something that a hard of hearing customer has to do, but has a right to choose as they want. It equates to you not wanting to make your order to a pair of hands preforming sign language. And as it was mentioned, both sides of the story are clear – the Steak ‘N Shake was in the wrong, and has apologized.

  25. HalOfBorg says:

    I blame her. The manager was quite clear – all she had to do was drive around to the speaker again, say “I am deaf and need to order at the window.”

    Then drive up….to….the window….OH.

    What an ass.

  26. Myotheralt says:

    @stinkingbob: flashy lights?

  27. dgcaste says:

    @picantel: Because he’s a troll that normally can’t get a reply from his best attempt at a comment, and figured that if he pissed people off he would get the attention.

    By the way, shit like this pisses me off. This manager should be fired.

  28. Fry says:

    @picantel: Way to disrupt a semi-intelligent debate/discussion. Like it or not, the customer is not always right. At least stinkingbob brought some good points to the argument. Your contribution was to troll his post. Dick.

    On another note, she should’ve just went inside. Lines are usually smaller and yes, it would have been easier for both parties involved. On the other hand, the manager was being a dick about it and could’ve just taken her order.

  29. HalOfBorg says:

    @stinkingbob: And in the driver’s tests I’ve and my son has taken – no one EVER tested hearing. Eyesite yes.

    It’s possible she IS totally deaf – and was reading lips. Which doen’t work well through a SPEAKER.

  30. xl22k says:

    @stinkingbob: Exactly.

  31. SOhp101 says:

    @stinkingbob: Actually, if you knew anything you would know that they have devices that let a deaf person know that a siren is wailing by flashing a light inside. There are restrictions for deaf people regarding driving which varies by state, but no state in the US AFAIK bans them from driving.

  32. facework says:

    It’s called Reasonable Accommodation. The key word being reasonable. What would any reasonable person do in this situation? Take the deaf woman’s order at the window. She wasn’t asking for thousands of dollars of special equipment be installed. Heck, she wasn’t asking for any service that cost this business one single solitary extra penny.

    I agree that this manager should penalized, maybe demoted, not necessarily fired. A manager that unreasonable and apparently illogical shouldn’t be running a store.

    It’s true though that there are the “bad penny” disabled people who make a practice of suing businesses for financial gain. Clearly, this woman was not even remotely on that plane. I think only a troll would say she deserves less than a full apology, and free shakes.

  33. Tank says:

    what a cock

  34. RottNDude says:

    I occasionally visit a Jack In The Box drive-thru which is next to an apartment buliding. After 10pm, they change the order screen to say something like “So we don’t disturb the neighbors, please just pull up and tell us what you want, and we’ll verify it on the display”

    Seems like this approach would work well for these drive-thrus. If you’re deaf, push a button and they’ll know not to scream at you but instead verify your order on the menu board.

  35. RevRagnarok says:

    Am I the only one wondering if I would’ve put it in park and shut off the car at the threat of calling the cops? Go for it. You call the cops, while I call the papers.

    Maybe the manager is moonlighting from his normal Best Buy management position. ;)

  36. peepytweep says:

    OK, I do not know the the circumstances of this woman but I do have some incite. In high school I had a friend who was deaf. He could only hear high pitched noises(you could whistle to get his attention)and he could read lips. He also liked loud music because he could “feel” the base. Anyways, he had a drivers license and drove all the time. He could not use a phone so I imagine he would not have been able to use a drive-thru speaker either. So someone can by deaf and drive a vehicle safely and legally.

  37. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @stinkingbob: So now the ADA is wrong as well?
    Well no problem. You want deaf people to not be able to drive, get your smarmy ass over to her house and take her and the kids out shopping.
    Otherwise, crawl back in your hole and STFU.

  38. Primate says:

    I don’t think it would have necessarily been easier for her to go inside with 3 kids.
    Depending on the ages of the children it could have been a much bigger hassle getting them out of the car then back in than it would have been for the manager to just take the damn order.

  39. stinkingbob says:

    To all you people who are bashing me. You missed my point entirely. I believe that the manager should have taken her order when she spoke with him.
    BUT, the point I was trying to make is that we should not automatically assume that when it comes to a deaf person and a business, that the deaf or disabled person is always right. No,we did not hear from the managers point of view. His POV was given by the lady. She could have miscontrued the facts in her favor. Of course the business apologized. It doesn’t mean they were wrong, it simply was easier to apologize than to create some whole legal/media drama over this. My point people is to listen to both sides of the story.
    Lastly, this issue with deafness and being able to drive safely has me perturbed. If someone is deaf, it presents a very serious safety issue to everyone involved on the road. If there is an emergency she would not know about it. Ambulance or fire truck comes, she would not be able to hear it and move to the right.
    People say flashing lights, flashing lights, BUT we hear the siren blocks away before we see the flashiing lights. THis is so we have time to move out the way! Just some things to think about. I am not against the lady. I am not for the business. I just want both sides to be heard inthis becuase I have seen some disabled people who take advantage of businesses without merit.

  40. Kottles says:

    Where was this located?

  41. Fry says:

    @Primate: Hmm…touchée. As one of five children in my family, I can “appreciate” that comment. I still stand by the rest of my comment though.

  42. Hoss says:

    If it was very busy, would have been nice if the manager understood the situation and asked her either to drive around again or wait over to the side since the orders behind her were likely ready which is why he probably needs everyone to order in sequence. That would be accomidating enough, I should think.

  43. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    Please suppress your urges to flame each other and keep comments on-topic. Thanks.

  44. stinkingbob says:

    Doctor Cos,

    Driving is a privilege and not a right. No one has the right to drive. Show me or quote me a passage from the lawbooks where it says that Americans have the right to drive. With that said, my concern as it should be with all of you, is the safety of driving on the road. Your safety, spouses safety, kids safety, etc. There is a great risk of someone who is deaf and drives vs someone who is not. Just as there is a safety issue with someone who talks on cellular and drives and someone who has cataracts and drives. You have to look at each individual situation and make decisions as to whether or not this person should be able to drive. Am I wrong in thinking this way?? I am looking at it from a safety point of view. Which means that yes, if some is gabbing on their cellphone or runs the red light, I believe we should impound their vehice for 15 days. 2nd time offense gets 1 month and 3rd time gets 1 year and a suspeneded license. My point is dealing with safety onthe road. I nknow tht this is off topic from the Burger joint, but many people have brought this up and I wanted to respond to it.

  45. Employees Must Wash Hands says:

    Bad drive-up service is universal for Steak ‘N Shake, regardless of whether you have a disability.

    They serve you much more quickly when walk in and order takeout, and you can watch them put together your order to make sure you’re not driving off missing a sandwich or something.

  46. ivealwaysgotmail10 says:

    Seriously, Wow, If i was deaf, and someone threatened to call the cops on me, I would tell him fine, And sit in the drive thru until they got there just to spite him, Then i would kindly explain to the officer that he was refusing service to a disabled person, and me sitting in his drive thru lane was a perfectly acceptable demonstration of free speech, and that since he was violating the Amercians with disabilities act and clearly refusing to take my order at the window, i was waiting for that situation to be resolved so i can get my food.

    Exactly what i think, If i was her, my car would stay put until he served me, I might go to the car or cars behind me and explain what was happening, maybe let them out after they become disgusted with the way they were treating me.
    @mikemar42: Wow man, please attain the maturity level of a 10 year old before commenting. I thought that was a pre-requisite.

    @stinkingbob: So you have been hard of hearing before? Deaf even? Great, So do me a favor and to read the lips of a speaker, Or just put your hand on it and try to feel that he got your order right, and that it really “feels” like a chocolate shake and large fry. Yes many disabled people take advantage of their disability i have seen it, But this is clear-cut, probobly wouldnt take the order because she screwed up the line, making the people behind her have to wait only a small bit longer. She should be able to place the order at the window, SHIT, ANYONE SHOULD BE, Some of those god damn speakers are so crackly even i have a hard time hearing people sometimes. Any manager that trys to have a -clearly deaf person pull around to a SPEAKER, and says “if you had told me about your disability i could have accomidated you” when she is AT THE WINDOW, AND IT MAKES NO DIFFIRENCE is a douche, period. I hope he is fired, he obviously doesnt like his job.

  47. trollkiller says:

    “You’ll have to drive around again so I can take your order through the speaker,” the guy said.

    “I can’t hear back there, so I’ll need you to take my order here,” I explained.

    “No, it’s our policy. You’ll have to just drive around and tell me your order and then I can take your order.”

    “I can’t use the speaker, which is why I’m at the window giving you my order here!” I started raising my voice a little, as I was getting frustrated at the hoops he was putting me through.

    Man what a bitch. Yep I said it. At what point did she think the window monkey would realize she is deaf? She could not have said “I am deaf, I can’t hear back there, so I’ll need you to take my order here,”?

    Nope she would rather argue with the guy, start telling him about ADA instead of just saying “I am deaf”. Maybe she speaks so clearly it is not readily apparent that she is deaf.

    She got the poor bastard taking her order so frustrated he shut the window on her, threw up his hands and walked away.

    If you have a disability and need help, state so in a calm manner. Sorry if you are pissed at the world because you can’t [insert disability here], we did not do it to you and we are not physic.

  48. morganlh85 says:

    You’d think that in these litigious days, people would err on the side of caution and make whatever accommodations are requested so they don’t get their asses fired and/or sued. I mean, would he have gotten in trouble for taking her order at the window? Nope. But he’s definitely in trouble now, and if this lady has a lawyer, so is the entire company.

  49. matt says:

    The ADA is bullshit.

  50. morganlh85 says:

    @trollkiller: Well when he found out that she was deaf, the first thing he should have done was apologize profusely, not walk away.

  51. ClayS says:


    Yep, she might have been full of it, she might be a bitch, but the smart, mature thing for the manager to do would have been to just take her order at the window. Not tell her to drive around again. Why look for aggravation?

  52. 5h17h34d says:

    @peepytweep: Thanks for the incite.

  53. betatron says:

    You are either smarter than all of the motor vehicle licensing bureaus, and all of the legislators who’ve ever drafted legislation, foreign and domestic on motorway regulation, of which i am aware, or you’re wrong.

    which possibility do you think is more likely?


  54. MikeB says:

    @mikemar42: Why should she have to go inside? She is able to speak clearly (at least that is what she says) and with hearing aids she is able to hear, although not that well. And she has every right to complain. She didn’t say she was going to sue but that she was going to complain to corporate.

  55. AT203 says:

    Wow. Sorry, I know that firing is an extreme response in most situations, but in this case I see it as justified. It is not the managers original mistake that warrants this, it is the way that he handled it that is absolute indefensible. To have a deaf woman and her children at the window, and refuse to accommodate them is beyond the pale.

  56. toolverine says:

    Some of the comments here are absolutely appalling. There are lots of assumptions being made about this woman and people with disabilities that are absolutely detestable.

  57. matt says:

    @stinkingbob: You have the right to drive – just not on government roads. Just as you can let your children drive a car on private parking lots.

  58. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    @stinkingbob: MANY people drive around with stereos so loud that they can’t even hear themselves THINK, let alone hear anything outside of their vehicle. If not being able to hear while driving was dangerous, stereos would have been outlawed. If you can’t see the flashing strobes and LEDs on modern emergency vehicles in at least ONE of your THREE mirrors, you shouldn’t be driving whether you can hear just fine or not. You should be paying full attention to your surroundings while driving, and if you are, you won’t miss anything, even if you are deaf.

    It appears as though we DID get your point, stinkingbob, and we all agree that it sucked.

  59. MikeB says:

    @ivealwaysgotmail10: Hmm, lets see:

    “Hi! I didn’t order back there as I can’t hear,” I said, pointing to my ear.

    And then

    “But I’m DEAF! I can’t hear on the speaker! When I drove up, the first thing that I told you was that I couldn’t order back there because I can’t hear through the speaker.”

    “No, you didn’t tell me that,” he said. “If you had told me about your disability then I could have accommodated you.”
    At this point all he had to say was, I am sorry I was not aware of that, can I take your order.

  60. akalish says:

    How is it that people in the service industry can be so unaware of the accomodations allowed by the ADA? You’d think that would be included in every employee training.

  61. scoosdad says:

    @trollkiller: Thank you, I was about to post exactly the same observation.

  62. stinkingbob says:

    Actually, quite a few people agree with me Aaron. Let me respond to your point about the steroe. I have turned my volume up high (not loud loud where people 3 blocks away can hear the music) and through all that, I am still able to make out the sound of an ambulance or firetruck. Your argument doesn’t hold water. Matt, there is no such thing as the “right to drive” It is a privilege. Seriously. You will not find the clause “right to drive” in any law book . Ask a cop. He will tell ya.
    Getting back on topic and I hope people are open minded about this instead of just jumping the gun which is what 90% of you have done.
    We were not there when it happened. We only heard 1 side of the story. I cannot believe that the manager was that prude towards her. What I believed happened is that the manager asked her to drive around and get back in the line so he could take her order since the drive thru is on a queue and if he did take her order, every subsequent order would be off by 1 and peple would be screaming mad. So, instead of driving around again, she makes a fuss to the manager. He could handle it and they get into a heated exchange. The correct thing was for her to drive around again and then he could have taken her order at the window. I think this would have been a fair apprioach. But agian, I wasn’t there so I am only guessing about what happened. Sp please people, it is best to hear both sides before making ad hominem attacs against me and other posters.

  63. D-Bo says:

    @stinkingbob: Of all the comments I’ve read on Consumerist yours takes prize for “Most Ignorant”.

    The woman is deaf, not just “having trouble hearing”. The conduct of this manager was spiteful and unnecessary. His lack of critical thinking skills do not suit his management position.

    You attempt to defend your position with the “well there’s two sided to every story which is tru, but without the opposing view we can formulate our own opinions on the veracity of the writer’s claim. IR are you just saying she’s a liar?

  64. D-Bo says:

    @mikemar42: Easy to say when it doesn’t affect you…

  65. cashmerewhore says:

    A friend of a friend was deaf after a track & field pole vaulting accident. She waitressed at a Steak & Shake. People would complain that she never responded to them calling for her (since she still had a normal “speaking” voice, you wouldn’t know she was deaf). By the time they managed to get her attention, they demanded the manager.

    She brought the manager out, who told them: “She’s deaf, she’s been reading your lips this entire time.”

    She made bank in guilt tips.

  66. matt says:

    @stinkingbob: You’ve got it so backwards that it isn’t even funny, bob.

    The government doesn’t give us the RIGHT to do anything. As human beings, we have every right to do everything. We ALLOW government to enforce restrictions upon those rights in order to form a society. The right to drive is one of those. You have every right to drive a car on private property. Just as you have every right to do anything that is not specifically illegal on private property.

    The government is NOT an altruistic father figure, by pure grace and benevolence granting us rights like the the keys to his 67 Mustang. The government is an entity sanctioned by the people, for the people. The government may pass a law ensuring that certain rights are never infringed by other laws, but that doesn’t mean that that has to occur before those rights can be expressed.

    Let’s put it another way. We are also not given the right to brush our teeth, but we do it anyways. The government, with approval from congress, COULD pass a law saying that we are not allowed to brush our teeth – but since a law does not exist, we have that right.

    What you don’t seem to understand is that we don’t have to be told that we are allowed to do something. We can be told, through proper legal procedures, that we CANNOT do something, but we don’t have to be given explicit permission to live our lives as we see fit. It makes me terribly upset that this is the pervasive perception of government we have today.

  67. Alger says:

    @stinkingbob: Boy, it sure didn’t take long before somebody criticized the victim here, did it?

    If you read the entire post, you’d see that the manager told her that if she had informed him at the speaker that she needed to place the order at the window, it’d be OK. It’s just not OK that she showed up there without his permission. Which is completely idiotic anyhow.

    And just what’s wrong with asking for the reasonable accomodation of placing the order at the window? Just how does that hurt him? At most, it slows down the line just a little bit, but certainly less than picking a fight with her about it did.

  68. Altdotweb says:

    If she drove around, the orders would still be out of queue. The window would still need to get the order verbally and place it in the appropriate rotation depending on which order was placed after she passed the speaker.

    OTOH, the lady should’ve indicated that she was legally Deaf first instead of just saying that she could not hear the speaker and raising her voice.

  69. Rando says:

    Rofl what an idiot but she is definitely a jack ass for going through the drive thru. Back when I worked at taco bell deaf people always came in and wrote down their order.

  70. Rando says:

    Also, if she can’t hear through the speaker then why is she allowed to drive? That is hazardous to fellow commuters and emergency services.

  71. ribex says:

    He could easily have taken her order and her money at the window and then asked her to pull through the drive through to a waiting area or a parking space to wait for her order IF the queue indeed was the major factor (though I don’t think it was).

  72. zingbot says:

    I thought Steak and Shake was a fictional restaurant from one of the Grand Theft Auto games until this post.

  73. betatron says:

    @Altdotweb:after watching her interview on Fox TV News, it’s my opinion that it would have been intuitively obvious to the most casually observing idiot with normal hearing that she was deaf virtually the instant that she began speaking. She speaks very very well, but there are a few not so subtle cues.

    The manager cannot make any reasonable claim to ignorance of her condition.

  74. Me. says:

    I am convinced that people use “policy” as an excuse to do as little free thinking as possible.

    It is really so dangerous these days to deviate a bit from policy?

  75. betatron says:

    She was not @randotheking: The Secretary of State of Illinois would beg to differ with you.

  76. cryrevolution says:

    Wow, seems A LOT of people are siding with the manager with this one. Or atleast trying to tell the deaf lady what she SHOULD’VE done. Well, folks, she went through the drive thru, the manager was a total ass towards her, and now they’ve apologized. THATS the topic here, not what she should’ve or could’ve done. What part of “I’m DEAF and I can’t hear the speaker” didn’t he understand. Anything other than taking her order was an asshat move on his part.

  77. matt1978 says:

    @matt: It’s easy to be an expert on life when you’re in college, huh?

  78. stinkingbob says:

    Matt, your argument still does not hold water. Show me the law in your state which specifically says that you have the “right to drive”. List the web link in your next post. I want to see someting that says that citizens in your state have the right to drive. Please do this for me. I bet you won’t be able to. According to your logic, this means that a 10 year old could drive because he has a right to drive. This means that someone who is illegal
    has the right to drive even if they don’t know our signs and road regulations, this means that a drunk driver has the right to drive!
    Alger, I did read the post. But remember that the post is one-sided. If the manager wrote his side, then we could make comments on the situation accordingly. You guys are making me out to be some uncaring person. I am not. The fact is that we were not there to see what happened. We are only hearing one side of the story. From my experiences, I have come across many disabled people who are demanding, loud and arrogant when it comes to businesses becuse they feel they have the right to everything even if they are wrong. Usually, instead of explaining t he situation, they are rude from the start, yelling. THis of course, makes the business manager less apt to help them. You also have to look at it from the business side as well. That’s the point I am trying to make. Don’t assume guilt or innocence just because the person involved has a disability.

  79. cde says:

    @matt1978: Expert? He’s stating the most basic tenets of law. You have the IMPLICIT right to do anything (ESPECIALLY things that your rights to have been EXPLICITLY stated) unless it has been EXPLICITLY denied by matter of law. The law cannot IMPLICITLY deny you a right.

  80. MMD says:

    @mikemar42: If I was deaf, I’d know how to spell it, and I would expect businesses to comply with the ADA, no matter how I chose to order. I would also know that typing in all caps is akin to screaming, which is not cool no matter how much one can or can not hear.

  81. brent_w says:


    You are pretty damn ignorant stinkingbob.


    There are millions of drivers out there with their radio so high they can’t hear a siren.

    There are luxury cars advertised for the amount of noise they keep out.

    People drive with headphones, and cell phones.


    The fact of the matter is the law states that deaf people can drive.
    There is no safety issue.

    The store was wrong, thats final.

  82. calvinneal says:

    @stinkingbob is a moron. Deaf people get to drive around in their cars, make babies and pay taxes. Federal law mandates assistance for these folks. Obviously stinkingbob has a problem with the Americans with disability act.

  83. stinkingbob says:

    B-DO, I am not syaing that she is lying. I believe that she is not telling the whole story. How was her demeanor when she spoke with the manager? Was she being rude or arrogant to him? Did she calmly tell him that she is deaf and cannot hear the speaker or did she do so in a manner which offended the manager? We will never know becuse we don’t have the managers version of the story.
    It’s so easy to say that he should have taken the order at that moment, but there are procedures to follow at drive thrus. THis is to ensure that your order is ready and to keep the flow going. If he did take her order, it would have clogged up the lines and customers would have gotten angry. Now, do you satisfy one customer to piss off 5?? no. I believe he told her to back around and get into the line again and he would be able to take her order. I think at this point, she became mad and starting raising her voice at the manager. Then the manager told her to leave or he would call the cops.
    So, whose fault was it? I think both.

  84. MMD says:

    @Me.: Agreed. I, for one, blame our educational system; it relies so heavily on standardized, multiple choice tests that people are starting to see the world in black and white when everything is really shades of grey.

  85. MMD says:

    @stinkingbob: Fascinating take. Except it’s all speculation on *your* part now, isn’t it?

    Who knows, maybe she did raise her voice. But since she was, you know *correct* about her legal right to order at the window, that’s not really the issue here.

    How much time would it really take for the manager to take the shake order at the window? Less time than it took to argue with her at the window, that’s for sure.

  86. cde says:

    @stinkingbob: Easy.:

    Link to statues are on the right hand side if you scroll down. Motor Vehicle statures are Title 39.

    Its a mess of a site, so I’ll just state that most of the NJ laws say “a driver is guilty of blah blah blah if they drive on a highway doing blah blah blah”
    NJ Stature 39:1-1: Words and phrases defined, is the legal source of all the other laws.
    “Highway” means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.

    As such, the RIGHT TO DRIVE is explicitly RESTRICTED on public roads only. There is no explicit denial of the right to drive. No state has an EXPLICIT denial of the RIGHT TO DRIVE. So it’s your turn to post one that does.

  87. matt says:

    @matt1978: It’s easy to be a smartass when you don’t have any particular rebuttal to my argument, isn’t it?

    @stinkingbob: You missed the point. There does not need to be a law granting you the right to do something. I don’t know how much I need to repeat it – the government does not GIVE rights. If this is not something that you can grasp, then we can drop the subject.

    The government CAN however, give or take away the right to drive upon public roads, paid for by tax dollars. What argument hinges upon is the notion of private property rights. I agree with you completely that 10 year olds cannot drive, that illegals cannot drive, and that drunks cannot drive. The key is that they cannot drive ON PUBLIC ROADS. They don’t have to be told that they can drive on private roads, however. The government has no jurisdiction on these. They don’t own them. They don’t maintain them. They don’t even map them, in a lot of instances.

    If you own a farm, you CAN let your 10 year old son drive your car, as long as he does not leave the property. You can let your illegal migrant worker drive a truck from the fields to the barn, as long as he does not leave the property. He can be arrested for being in the country illegally, but not for driving a car.

    Now the third situation is a difficult one, because in a lot of states, the inebriation of a person is enough of a justification to believe that they may be in danger of entering a public roadway and posing as a public risk. It’s not as cut and dry as I am afraid that I’ve made it out to be. I do not agree with this distinction, however.

    For an indication of where I am coming from

    Florida law states:

    Section 316.640(3)(a), F.S., sets forth the authority of a municipality to enforce the traffic laws of this state by providing in pertinent part:

    The police department of each chartered municipality shall enforce the traffic laws of this state on all the streets and highways thereof and elsewhere throughout the municipality wherever the public has the right to travel by motor vehicle. (e.s.)

    Which would seem to indicate that traffic laws are not enforced within areas that are not open to the public – i.e., private property.

    I could find more, but I feel as though we differ so much philosophically about the nature of government and the roles that it should play, that it may prove fruitless. Regardless, I think some other people are trying to gang up on you, and you should focus your attemps there.

  88. Sherryness says:

    ADA or no ADA, how is she logistically supposed to communicate with the order-taker from the speaker? Quite often they are not right there right when you pull up. Or they say, “Hold on a minute.” She could drive up to the speaker and say, “I am deaf, I need to used the window to order.” But how would she know if he even heard her? That manager is ridiculously lacking when it comes to plain old common sense. It doesn’t even have to have anything to do with the ADA, in my opinion. He’s just a moron. And Steak and Shake is a bit behind the times. Most drive-throughs I’ve been to have a sticker on the speaker that says, “If you are hard of hearing and need accommodations, please drive up to the window.” Or something to that effect.

  89. Altdotweb says:

    I’m not sympathetic towards the manager. I’m commenting based on what I’ve read in the woman’s own written words.

    From what I read, the chronology is this:

    – She pulled straight to the window.

    – Manager told here that she needed to order thru the speaker.

    – She said that she couldn’t hear the speaker. Nothing was mentioned about being deaf.

    – Manager informed her that it was policy to place drive-thru orders at teh drive-thru speaker.

    – She admits that she gets agitated and starts raising her voice.

    – After he insists on the policy, then she informs him about the ADA

    – Manager makes his accomodation comment.

    — THEN she informs him that she was deaf.

    While I do agree that the manager screwed this issue from this point on and needs to be reprimanded, he can’t be called an idiot because he didn’t figure out that she was deaf prior to that point.

    I reiterate. Had the woman’s first statement been, “I’m deaf and I can’t hear the speaker so I need to place this order at the window,” this probably would’ve been a non-story.

  90. brokeincollege says:

    Welcome to business 101. The customer is always right. Period. Case closed.

  91. joellevand says:

    Oooh, she should have let the manager call the cops. I mean, when a private business asks you to leave their property, they have a right to do that….

    …BUT, no one messes with the ADA! If nothing else, the police report would have given Karen a brilliant record for the civil lawsuit she could be filing. Sadly, she’s one of the decent people in the world that just wants an apology, not a Big Cash Settlement ™. I’m sure there are civil penalties for violating the ADA.

    Oh well, kudos to her anyway for being the bigger person and not running to a lawyer for a massive chunk of corporate dough like most Americans would have done.

  92. Charred says:

    I am partially deaf, and I have a hard time with those tin speakers.

  93. Nick says:

    Too bad she didn’t also try to pay with a $2 bill. Then everyone here would be on her side.

  94. CaptainSemantics says:

    @charred: Hell, my hearing is just fine and I can’t understand what they are saying. I can get a few words, read the screen, hope they can make that correctly, and cross my fingers as I hand over the cash.

    You are not alone, my friend. :)

  95. bohemian says:

    How hard would it have been for this manager to take a few seconds and put the order in at the window. Even if it tweaked some cue system they use there are always people that have to drive off to the side and wait for something special to be made. The manager couldn’t be bothered to listen and figure this issue out. Why.

    I worked with the public a long time ago and we had quite a few customers who had disabilities. Deaf people, people in wheel chairs with assistance animals, blind people and their seeing eye dogs, people with visual issues.

    If someone asks for some reasonable amount of special help how hard is it really to ask how you may be of assistance and do something differently. Maybe I am just crazy but that seems like a COURTESY and good customer service.

  96. weave says:

    Systems Analysts who design those systems should be shot. I am betting the order terminal couldn’t accommodate that.

    Once at McDonald’s I ordered at drive thru. When I got to window I said I forgot to order an item and asked if I could order it there. The guy at the window said if no one had come behind me he could but because someone placed an order behind me already and because of the stupid computer system he couldn’t. He then asked me if I’d mind pulling around again. He said he’d put the order in at the front counter for me if I objected but told me it’d throw off his average time and he’d get in trouble.

    It’s hardly the employee’s fault some stupid analyst didn’t allow for exceptions in the system, so I gladly drove around again. The fact he was polite and explained what he was up against made me feel good about doing it as well.

  97. eniram says:

    Same thing happened to me at a Del Taco in West Valley Utah last Summer. Then the employee and manager lied to corporate office telling them that “I demanded free food” and that was why he refused service. Nothing of course ever happened to said employee because they are lucky enough to get a body in the door to work.

  98. jimda says:

    i was in the restaurant business for 30 years, believe me, this guy has no future, better to go back to school and become an accountant.

  99. lizzybee says:

    @CaptainSemantics: Ditto. Those speakers are the work of Satan!

    I can’t believe what a petty bureaucrat the manager was! Taking an order at the window isn’t a great hardship on the staff or on him. The 30 seconds, or whatever it takes to get a couple of shakes out of the machine couldn’t screw up the queue that much! And the slipping of his logic when she first told him, “‘I can’t hear back there, so I’ll need you to take my order here,'” baffles me. I’d think it was pretty obvious from that statement that she had some kind of disability, whether it was full-fledged deafness or some kind of hearing impairment. It’s pretty basic customer service to accomodate someone with a reasonable request, and there’s nothing unreasonable about taking an order at the window.

  100. AD8BC says:

    To all you people whining about the ADA….

    It should have nothing to do with the ADA. It should be just basic human decency to give special accomodation to the deaf woman. It is unfortunate that she needed to even bring up the ADA. I don’t give a flying damn about the ADA. I do give a dam n about common decency andif everybody had even a shred of common decency we wouldn’t even need an ADA.

    If I were in the shoes of that employee, I wouldn’t have given a damn about company policy. Sometimes it is just the right thing to do to ignore company policy and to instead treat someone like a human being.

    Would I fire his ass? You betcha. I wouldn’t want jerks working for me. He should have immediately helped her as soon as she told him she was deaf. ADA or no ADA.

  101. MustyBuckets says:

    @stinkingbob: The manager wanted the lady to go back around and tell the speaker that she was deaf, a resonable request. Except she did that to begin with.

    I don’t believe that the cue would be messed up, his times may have been at that point, but I’ve seen several fast food restaurants adjust their cue on the fly, and I don’t see why they couldn’t, or at the least just punched the order in on a register in the place.

    I just am dieing to know how you would have handled this situation. Remember as the video on fox news shows, she is obviously deaf. What would you have done different?

  102. rdm24 says:

    I’d like to thank the posters on this thread from saving me the need to tear Stinkingbob a new one.

    It just serves to remind me that even though some assholes are completely unable to see another person’s perspective, most of us are alright.

  103. Thorny says:

    For the guy that said the ADA is bullshit (MATT, I believe). God forbid you break both legs and need a wheelchair then find yourself really having to take a shit in a restaurant that is not ADA compliant.

    This deaf woman’s plight is probably one of the simplest and no cost accommodations to a disability. I can’t understand why some people just aren’t more reasonable when it comes to customer requests. Especially when the customer is there, money in hand, waiting to buy what you’re offering.

  104. Me. says:

    @Sherryness: I worked at a drivethru Starbucks (I know, I know…) and the minute a car comes up to the speaker, it “dings” in the headset and the person taking orders, whether talking or not, can hear everything. As long as a car is in front of the sensor, the person on the other end can listen.

    Off subject: this actually made for some fun moments when people were singing or fighting and didn’t think we could hear them yet.

  105. RevRagnarok says:

    @schwnj: Dammit schwnj I was drinking; you owe me some screen cleaner!

  106. Joe S Chmo says:

    Maybe the manager is half deaf and he did not hear her say she was deaf because his iPod volume was too high.

    On the serious side, I have dealt with people when working customer service. Like all customers, they can get irritated and be rude but that is usually because they are tired of being treated rudely because they are deaf. Showing them respect always turned it around for me so that I could take care of their problem that they were calling me about. (This was using the TDD phone system where you type to each other as opposed to conversing on the phone).

    A lot of times a problem occurs because we don’t take the time to hear what the other person is saying. Or, we jump to conclusions when seeing comments that we have not read through or seen in more complete detail as seen in this thread.

  107. cde says:

    @Altdotweb: Every single McD’s/Wendy’s/BK/TacoBell/WhiteCastle i’ve been to have a drive up to the window if you are deaf/mute.

  108. buzzair says:

    @stinkingbob: I have been deaf from birth and I attend the National Institute of Technology for the Deaf in Rochester, NY. When I first started reading your original post, I had to agree with some of your points…we may not have the managers side of things, some people DO take advantage of their disabilities…then you totally destroyed your creditability when you questioned why this deaf women was allowed to be driving. Wow…is this day and age I can’t believe there are still people are ignorant as you towards the deaf and their capabilities. The fact of the matter is deaf drivers are usually MORE alert than the average hearing driver since they are more dependent on their eyes to take in everything.
    I’ve never once heard of an accident being caused because the driver was deaf. You should have stuck with your original points and then maybe you wouldn’t have had everyone jumping on you about your comments.

  109. matt says:

    @Thorny: I applaud, on every level attempts to make life easier for those who are handicapped. I take special exception to being forced, by the federal government, to adhere to expensive regulations on my own property.

    It comes down to whether or not we want the government to legislate our morality for us. Why should the law even need to exist? Why can’t people just be decent and help the handicapped on their own? For the people who don’t want to be like that? Fuck them!

    You do not know who I am, and do no know my experience with the ADA. You do not know how many of my family have been handicapped, and how many of my friends have been the same. I indeed have had several close friends who have been turned down for jobs, precisely because of their handicap. Business owners are scared to death that they will be sued out of existence the minute a handicapped employee is not able to access something normally available to non-handicapped people. It is too much a liability for them. Trust me, my wheelchair-basketball star of a friend can very easily complete any task that a standard office worker can. The only difference is, any other standard office worker doesn’t have a special place above the law, and is a safer bet.

    You have to believe that if the ADA did not exist, and a business did not cater to the handicapped, that the guy next door would throw in a ramp and special stall for that very individual. But with the ADA in place, where do we draw the line? Do we have to ensure iron lung, or bubble boy compliance? The problem for me is that the law attempts to make everybody equal – and it just doesn’t work. Forcing people to be nice never has the intended consequence.

    Trust me, I still have trouble expressing my distaste for the ADA. It seems like such a good idea – to level the playing field. I think everyone should be ready and willing to drop what they’re doing to help the less fortunate. To help those who can’t help themselves. But I can’t get behind the nanny-state forcing us to do so. That seems harsh and cold, and I’m sorry – but I truly DO care for the handicapped – I’m not just told to do so, and I think the handicapped would appreciate that.

  110. cde says:

    @matt: ADA mandates Reasonable compliance. One, noone expects a bubble boy to be out and about a coffee shop. Noone even expects a iron lung to be outside. Hell, how many people have ever SEEN a bubble boy or iron lung in real life?

    They are not forcing you to be nice. They are forcing you to do the right thing, within reason. For most businesses, that means things like not trying to force someone to order through something they can’t hear, or when they designed their building, to make sure one bathroom was x by x big. But then again, I bet you complain about being forced to install sprinklers or fire extinguishers because only the weak die in a fire.

  111. DeafMom says:

    Well, hello all… I’m the gal in question.

    First of all, I wasn’t asking for any special treatment of any kind. I was simply ordering two milkshakes. I’ve used drive thrus for years, and let me tell you, I’ve never encountered a human being who couldn’t fill an order until last Wednesday.

    I’m sure I’ll find out the manager’s side when I have the meeting with the corporate office. They have issued an apology and stated: “Again, I cannot tell you how sorry (and frankly embarrassed) we all are at how you were treated.”

    Keep in mind, at the time that I drove up, there was not a single car behind me. What would going around again have accomplished? I still would have to place my order at the window as I cannot understand the spoken word via a speaker. I communicate via lipreading so I need to be face to face.

    How in the world is it good business practice to threaten a customer with the police? Don’t you think any other customer would be a little angry at that kind of treatment at a place of service? As angry as I was inside, I did not shout at this manager, I merely raised my voice. Yes, indeed I was angry. My civil rights were violated by this manager. I had come to the window to give them my business and it was denied to me because the manager insisted that I follow a protocol that I could not physically follow through with.

    I have used that drive thru before without any problems– so how is it that all the other employees there can serve me from that same window but the manager could not?

  112. riverstyxxx says:

    His career as a drive-thru order taker is now over. He has no choice but to go to college like normal people do.

  113. matt says:

    @cde: You do have a point, and I might have to retract a lot of my judgment about the ADA.

    I know it sounds ridiculous, but I might have been too hysterical about it in the first place. I think the benefit of being able to punish assholes like this in the wallet may be of better use to society. As long as it’s enforced reasonably.

    From the wikipedia article

    “One of the definitions of “discrimination” under Title III of the ADA is a “failure to remove” architectural barriers in existing facilities. See 42 U.S.C. section 12182(b)(2)(A)(iv). This means that even facilities that have not been modified or altered in any way after the ADA was passed still have obligations. The standard is whether “removing barriers” (typically defined as bringing a condition into compliance with the ADAAG) is “readily achievable,” defined as “easily accomplished without much difficulty or expense.” The statutory definition of “readily achievable” calls for a balancing test between the cost of the proposed “fix” and the wherewithal of the business and/or owners of the business. Thus, what might be “readily achievable” for a sophisticated and financially capable corporation might not be readily achievable for a small “mom-n-pop” outfit.”

    Which I suppose can’t hurt too bad.

    I submit.

  114. riverstyxxx says:

    I’m sorry, I meant to say “Fast Food Management Entrepreneur”

    People who run the fast food world get what they pay for. Why don’t they just pay higher hourly wages and hire quality people who actually Want to work there? It would still be cheaper then having bad publicity and buying their way out of jams like this and paying off lawsuits.

    Bozos. Fast food sucks. Tell em all to get real jobs.

  115. stinkingbob says:

    Matt and CDA,

    Thanks for posting the quotes on the law books. We will have to differ on this one on the “right to drive” issue.
    For the rest of us still stuck on this issue, how about if we move forward. I think mistakes were made on both sides as I stated earlier. My original point was that I noticed that when there is an issue between a business and a disables person, people automatically are biased against the business. Sure, some may be warranted, but for the most part, if people would come together and be reasonable, things would go a lot smoother. In this situation at the Shake and Bake? a reasonable solution would have been for her to pull around again and go through the drive thru. Since the manager knows that she is deaf, he could have then taken her order at the window. It when this attitude of “I am right and you must serve me” causes problems. Some suggested that she should have parked her car there and not moved. But, this would be a bad idea. You could get arrested for that.
    Lastly, I want to thank Buzzair? for her post. I apologize if I offended anyone by saying that deaf people should not drive because of a safety issue. Now that I think about it, the majority of accidents are caused by people without disabilities doing stupid things like talking on the cell phone and running red lights. For that, I am sorry. I didn’t mean to offend. I think that all this negativity got me riled up. So, thanks again for level headed response.

  116. RevRagnarok says:

    OK people, this is getting obnoxious…

    incite != insight (you are providing information, not instigating)

    cue != queue (you are in a line, not shooting pool)

    Thanks. ;)

  117. riverstyxxx says:

    @revragnarok: I’m guessing that your Burger King avatar is just a coincidence?

    You’re welcome :)

  118. FF_Mac says:

    @trollkiller: Ummm….she did say she was deaf. Did you even read her post?

  119. andsoitbegins says:

    I worked at BK in high school. Orders were timed and watched closely. We had a regular customer who was deaf and he always came through drive through. Our store had a camera pointed at the drive through. He always stopped and made a verbal noise and pulled on through. He gave us an order and we filled. No big deal. Yes, this made things out of queue, but a good restaurant puts their best people in drive thru.

    There was no training on this or other accommodation issues. It just common sense.

    Behavior like the steak’n shake manager displayed indicates that he perhaps isn’t the right person for the job and at the very least could be removed from drive thru, or busted down a level.

  120. CornwallBlank says:

    “What a pain in the ass.”

    “Didn’t you hear me call for the next person in line?”

    “Jim, come take care of this dummy.”

    “Are you stupid or something?”

    Just a sample of things I didn’t hear…but whose message I clearly understood.

    Perhaps that’s why I think the employee in question should not only be fired, but should become an object lesson to others. But I could be biased.

  121. DeafLEGO says:

    StinkyBOOB! You are nothing but an idiot related to Deafness. Deaf can see the police or fire engine’s flashing lights before you hearing people can which is why we are permitted to drive. Your first comment insulted her as a mother, because again, you aren’t too bright in the head. You basically was trying to say ALL disabled people cannot have children? God you are such a moron… you made so many people vomited in their mouth with your stupidness. You and that manager are two peas in a pod.

  122. SaraAB87 says:

    Why can’t we just err on the side of caution, if the person says they are deaf just believe them, take their order and move on with life. No clerk should be slamming the window and throwing their hands up at ANY customer deaf or not that is just very poor service.

  123. lockdog says:

    Okay, deafness aside, this was not just some regular employee, this was the manager. And right or wrong, disabled or not, this is no way for a manager to treat any customer. Will accommodating her throw off some useless measurement of customers per minute or throw the order queue out the window? Who cares? He’s the manager. You call your boss and say “Hey, I know the order queue and time averages got all screwed up on Saturday, we had a deaf customer come through the drive through and since she had to order at the window instead of the speaker it threw everything a little out of whack. All of the customers were taken care of, but (and here’s where you lay it on thick with the boss) I don’t want it to reflect badly on my team here. The people on that shift are some of my hardest workers…..yada yada.”

    See, customers satisfied, boss brown-nosed, loyalty in underlings created…all in a days work for any good manager.

  124. RevRagnarok says:

    @riverstyxxx: LOL. Hadn’t realized that. Yes total coincidence. I used that here because my usual one ([]) isn’t really readable, and the dude creeps me out.

  125. Infe says:

    I hate the name of this place. I stopped there to eat, and they have no steaks! How is a greasy burger a steak?

  126. stinkingbob says:

    Deaflego, Pls read my post above. I apologized. BUT, I have to respond to your unfounded comments against me.

    “Deaf can see the police or fire engine’s flashing lights before you hearing people can which is why we are permitted to drive.”
    Is there any reason why hearing people cannot see the flashing lights while deaf people can? Please explain this because this comment made no sense to me. I also want to ask you if while driving during the DAYTIME, you are able to see the flashing lights 3 blocks away?
    I don’t think so, but please post your answer here.

    “Your first comment insulted her as a mother, because again, you aren’t too bright in the head.”
    Oookay. In your followup post, please copy and paste what that first comment was that I made which insulted her as a mother.

    “You basically was trying to say ALL disabled people cannot have children? “
    Where exactly did I say this? Again, please copy and paste the comment in your follow-up post where I said that or alluded to disabled people should not have kids!!

    “God you are such a moron… you made so many people vomited in their mouth with your stupidness.”
    You call me all sorts of names and you expect people to take your comments seriously? Who is the one acting stupid now? At least I can make comments without insulting people.

    You come across to me as an individual who whines and complains if you don’t get your way. Very unreasonable. And with that kind of attitude, no manager or business would want to help you.
    So, I look forward to you answering the questions I put forth in this post. I bet you won’t.

  127. Thorny says:


    Thanks for your input Matt, you are right I do not know your situation. I wish there was a sandbox where we could see what this country would look like without the ADA. My best guess is that it would resemble countries without any ADA-like, government-backed agencies responsible for making sure public places are accessible. I have traveled to Africa and seen first-hand how impossible it is to get around in a wheelchair in some of those countries. Even in Europe where some governments have similar laws, the enforcement of these laws is quite lax and the accessibility is quite limited.

    I agree that the government should not be able to tell us what to do with our private property, but only as it applies to private property not expected to be patronized by the public, such as your house. For example, I think it would be ridiculous for the government to tell home owners that they have to have ramps to their front doors so that disabled door-to-door salesman could access the door.

    The fact is, however, that people with disabilities have money to spend just like those without disabilities. I would presume it’s in the best interest of any business owner to follow the ADA, simply from a business standpoint. A ramp that lasts 15-20 years or more will allow hundreds more disabled customers to spend their money in a place and therefore pay for itself.

    I think a common excuse of business owners is, “Well nobody in wheelchairs ever comes here, so why should I let you tell me to make it accessible?”

    Hopefully you can appreciate how illogical that statement is. Of course you never see wheelchairs in your business if they can’t get into it in the first place.

    I guess I think that relying on the kindness of a business owner’s heart to make access changes is being a little too presumptuous about most business owners.

  128. Rusted says:

    ADA…1, clueless manager….0. Betcha a job opening up soonest.

  129. matt says:

    @Thorny: I can’t help but agree with you completely. I, too, have travelled to africa extensively. My most recent was in Morocco, with narrow, hardly paved streets often at extreme angles. I also saw the terrible effect that disease and injury has on the people there, due to lack of medical care and lack of access to a vast majority of their cities. I guess I just have a terrible difficulty getting over my small-government hump. Stories like this just get my blood boiling:


    I’m in the tech industry, and do a tiny bit of basic-level web design for friends and family, but that’s the extent. The fact that the ADA has been ruled, since the onset of this story, to extend to web based businesses (the idea of brick vs click) troubles me. I’m not sure that the gawker shop, which they advertise on this site every week or so, is ADA compliant, but someone who felt slighted could bring suit against gawker media. I still guess I am not solidified in my opinions, but things like this really throw a wrench into the gears of my train of thought.

  130. Fry says:

    @stinkingbob: Both your recent posts. Good man for taking the loss, being reasonable, and apologizing for offending others. Not many people do that enough on the Internet. I’ve read all the posts here and commented once on the issue, but I still agree with what you and a lot of others said. A+ to you nonetheless.

    @DeafLEGO: As stinkingbob had pointed out, I too would like to see where he made those comments.

  131. XTC46 says:

    ADA compliance people are one of the few agencies I wouldn’t mess with. They come at you with a vengeance. stupid groups like the BBB and even the attorney general..meh you can get passed that..ada will tear your fucking head off.

  132. DeafLEGO says:


    “Lastly, if this lady can’t hear well, why is she driving aroun with 3 kids? Isn’t that a safety hazzard?”

    That’s an insult to all disabled with children or more pinpointed at Deaf with children. You are saying Deaf people should not be on behind the wheel and we are incapable of driving our children around safely.

    “What happens if there is an emergency and she can’t hear the ambulance approaching or the cops approachinig or the kids yelling?”

    Have you ever noticed how Blind people can hear better than people with vision? This same concept applies to Deaf people that their eyes are more sensitive and more aware of the surrounding than people who depend on their hearing.

  133. D.B. Cooper-Nichol says:

    Can somebody explain why her motherhood is relevant?

    Needless invocation of reproductive status is one of my media pet peeves (“Grandmother bench presses minivan”), and I’m trying to figure out if there’s a reason for it here.

  134. organizedhome says:

    Whew, boy.

    I am a hard-of-hearing person, and yes, I drive–and yes, I frequently need to bypass the speaker at a drive-through restaurant.

    People with normal hearing often have great difficulty understanding the squawk boxes; for someone like me, they are impossible to understand. I hear noise, but not sound–and now that most fast food restaurants seem to force workers to drone on and on about this special and that, it’s even worse.

    Here’s what I try to do, to balance my needs against those of everyone else. If the restaurant has a display, I’ll state my order clearly, and add “I’m hard of hearing, so I can’t respond” when the workers try to do the usual upsell.

    If there’s NO graphic display, or it’s not working, I tell the speaker, “I’m hard-of-hearing and will need to give you my order at the window.” This puts the workers on notice that there will be an issue.

    But if I had to face this kind of response? I’d be on television, too.

    And I can’t tell you just how sick it makes me to read the accusations against those of us who are hearing-impaired. I do my very, very best to communicate with a world that is impatient, intolerant, or just not aware that not everyone can hear–or that even those, like me, who have some hearing left, can not always understand speech.

    Because I use speechreading (lipreading) to understand speech, I need to see faces. If you’re a fast food restaurant and you don’t have appropriate ways for me to compensate at the drive-through speaker, yes, I’m going to drive up to your window and request to TALK to a human with a face I can read.

    To be fair, I do my best to warn the restaurant–but I often have no way to know whether someone is even listening. So you can bet, if this happened to me, I’d have the TV cameras down there, too.

  135. HalOfBorg says:

    “I’ll have a cheeseburger, onion rings and a large orange drink.”

  136. Me - now with more humidity says:

    StinkingBob: Hey, troll, I tried to look at this your way, but I couldn’t get my head that far up my ass.

    Go buy a clue, then come back and apologize.

  137. deVious says:

    @D-Bo: I agree. StinkingBob’s comments here have got to be some of the most ignorant posts I’ve ever seen. Also, his driving is a privilege and not a right shpiel is cute, because it underscores the fact that he has completely missed the boat.

    Driving IS a privilege, but it is not one that can be restricted or given arbitrarily. People in this country are provided equal protection under the law, which means that if we’re going to deny one set of people something that we give another set, we have to have a reason to do so. Our lawmakers and regulatory agencies have clearly decided that lack of hearing alone is not a good enough reason to deny someone a license to drive. So Bob can argue all day that it’s a privilege, but it’s a privilege this woman had, and a right insofar as that privilege under our laws cannot be denied to her simply because she is deaf or hard of hearing.

    As someone put it (and quite nicely I might add) before, StinkingBob needs to go crawl back into the hole from which he came.

  138. stinkingbob says:

    “StinkingBob: Hey, troll, I tried to look at this your way, but I couldn’t get my head that far up my ass.”

    Well Me, keep on looking man. I am sure you will find it. Just remember to pull your head out to take a breather.

  139. stinkingbob says:


    Deaflego, you still didn’t answer my 3 questions. I am still waiting fro your response. What yoywrote inyour last post does not address the 3 questions that I asked of you.

  140. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Trust me, my wheelchair-basketball star of a friend can very easily complete any task that a standard office worker can. The only difference is, any other standard office workerShake. doesn’t have a special place above the law, and is a safer bet.

    It’s great that your friend doesn’t need the ADA, but this lady does. Some businesses don’t want to serve the handicapped. Like this Steak and Shake.

    In this case, it would have cost the company absolutely not one single dime to accommodate this woman, and they still didn’t want to do it. Can you put yourself in her shoes for one minute and imagine what it was like before the ADA, when they didn’t have to?

    How many restaurants would you have her go to before she found one to serve her, or she just quit and went home in disgrace?

    Handicapped people want to work, pay taxes, go out to eat, and do everything that everyone does. They don’t want to be humiliated or told that they aren’t worthy of consideration.

  141. stinkingbob says:

    D-Bo, did you even read my 3rd to last post? I apologized. So, can we move along without the attacks?
    Some of you are beginning to sound like career politicians!!!

  142. buzzair says:

    I think some people need to read before posting. Stinkingbob did apologize for his comments about the mother being able (or unable) to drive.


    “Lastly, I want to thank Buzzair? for her post. I apologize if I offended anyone by saying that deaf people should not drive because of a safety issue. Now that I think about it, the majority of accidents are caused by people without disabilities doing stupid things like talking on the cell phone and running red lights. For that, I am sorry. I didn’t mean to offend. I think that all this negativity got me riled up. So, thanks again for level headed response.”

    Just FYI. I’m a guy.

    Also want to add…during the day, emergency lights are still very visible. Unless you have very poor peripheral vision or aren’t checking your rear view mirror every so often (should be every 6 seconds if I recall drivers ed) then you won’t see the lights, regardless of your hearing ability. Then we’re getting into blindness or poor driving skills which have nothing to do with deafness.

  143. marsneedsrabbits says:

    I wish there was a sandbox where we could see what this country would look like without the ADA.

    I think we can. It looks like this Steak and Shake. It looks like every manager of every restaurant in every story I’ve seen in the last couple of years who wield their limited power and decree that they don’t have to follow the law, or that the law doesn’t say what it says.

    Accommodating this woman would have cost nothing, literally nothing. They wouldn’t have had to build anything or design anything differently. No new wording, no new signs.

    And he still refused to do it and slammed the door in her face. because he thought it was okay to do so.

    That is what it looked like for a lot of handicapped people before the ADA and that is what it will look like if the ADA goes away.

  144. buzzair says:

    @marsneedsrabbits: Me thinks you’re quoting the wrong person.

  145. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    @D.B. Cooper-Nichol:
    Can somebody explain why her motherhood is relevant?

    Well, it would probably explain why she preferred the drive-thru instead of getting out of the car and going into the restaurant (like several commenters said she should have done). Getting three kids out of the car, dealing with car seats, tantrums, and stray shoes, jackets, and sippy cups, etc. — drive-thrus can be a godsend for parents.

  146. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    And to all the people sniping at each other on this thread: I’ve already asked everybody to keep the flamewars to a minimum. Play nice.

  147. ndavies says:

    @stinkingbob: Consider this–a deaf person wanting to drive can make their own decision as to whether they’re up to it, and they can make any adjustments they think are necessary. And their decision will most definitely be more responsible and informed than the decision you would make for them.

    Besides, IF a deaf person is a danger on the road(hypothetically) and will end up in an accident, then that person’s chances of being involved in that accident are 100%. Since the hearing-impaired are a rather small minority, and those driving are even fewer, your chances of encountering any of them are minute. You’re more likely to collide with…a helicopter.

    We’re not talking about drunk driving or underage driving. We’re talking about people who can exercise judgement and pay taxes.

  148. Fry says:

    @ACAMBRAS: I agree with you there, my parents loved the Tim Horton’s drive-thru, especially with 5 kids in the back seat of the mini-van.

  149. Fry says:

    @ndavies and anyone else mentioning taxes: Just curious why the whole tax thing keeps getting mentioned. Would someone please explain?

  150. stinkingbob says:


    AHHHHHHHH. People, please pay attention here. No one is reading all the posts. Just a few snippets here and there and then making posts on things that have changed. (Sorry about the gender confusion Buzzair!) This is what I posted about 5 posts back:

    “Lastly, I want to thank Buzzair? for her post. I apologize if I offended anyone by saying that deaf people should not drive because of a safety issue. Now that I think about it, the majority of accidents are caused by people without disabilities doing stupid things like talking on the cell phone and running red lights. For that, I am sorry. I didn’t mean to offend. I think that all this negativity got me riled up. So, thanks again for your level headed response.”

    Please stop with all the negativity. It does no good and solves nothing. It just gets us riled up. I am for free speech, but not for people making personal attacks and name calling.

  151. wellfleet says:

    Not too long ago, Best Buy began lowering all their shelving units to be ADA-compliant, especially in the computer area to make laptops and desktops easier to browse for people in wheelchairs. Although it’s a pain for taller employees to fiddle around with the displays, I bet it totally sucks to be IN A WHEELCHAIR. I would have risked getting in trouble over turnaround time to be a decent human being and show some flexibility. Jeez…

  152. jawacg says:

    You know, according to a guy I work with who is a flight instructor you can be deaf and get a pilot’s license. The only thing you can’t do is fly into major airports that require radio contact. The other thing I will say is as the hearing parent of a severely hard of hearing child, this incident and some of the comments in this thread make me extremely sad that this kind of treatment to another human being is acceptable and approved of. That my son will have to face this kind of treatment in life is even worse. Sometimes people just suck.

  153. DeafMom says:

    And by the way, I can drive pretty well. Give me a dirt bike and an ATV and I can power those along as well.

    All I need right now are accessible drive thrus and managers who know how to deliver good customer service. Make the drive thrus accessible and I would be happy to contribute my money to the economy.

    For those who’ve expressed their thoughts that I should have just gone inside– well, they’re missing the point. I have the same equal right to use a drive thru as anyone else. With some accommodation, it can be done. The first accommodation has to be the attitude of those providing the customer service. This manager made some poor choices that day and those choices lead to this situation.

  154. gambles says:

    @stinkingbob: dude you are an absolute Duchebag.. the chick is deaf she was denied the special accommodations at a restaurant, which are mandatory by law, other than the fact that she was in a car ,her ability to drive is completely irrelevant to the situation . and your attitude towards disabled people is unacceptable (to me especially, being that I am one of many covered by the ADA). so stick this one up your ass and smoke it! err, flatulate on it.
    i agree with ya she shouldn’t have had to bring up the ADA

  155. forgottenpassword says:


    I once saw an investigative piece about lawyers who solely make money by threatening to sue busineeses that dont EXACTLY adhere to handicap-accessible regulations. Your business’s front doorway isnt exactly wide enough (so a wheelchair can fit thru)? …… you get sued.

    This particular lawyer would do this over & over to little businesses so that they would settle out of court instead of going thru costly lawyers & court costs.

    So I CAN see where the ADA has made it hard on regular people/businesses. And make it easier for the lawyers/handicapped who take advantage of this.

  156. forgottenpassword says:


    also… I agree with the handicapped in this situation. Making someone jump thru hoops just to follow store policy/protocol ESPECIALLY when you are the MANAGER capable of overriding such policy is assinine. Unless you have a hard-nosed, ball-busting district manager looking over your shoulder at that very moment.

    Hell!, I can’t tell you how many times I have HAD to pull up to the window to make my order because my jeep is too tall for the motion detectors to detect that my vehicle is at the speaker (or when the speaker was just plain out of order, or the batteries were dying in the guy’s headset). And I have never had a problem with the employees about it. They took my order. Not one demanded that I drive back around to do it all over again.

  157. synergy says:

    Yikes, I didn’t know deaf people were allowed to drive. I have seen sighted people driving like they’re blind, though, so I guess deafness isn’t any more dangerous than some people I’ve seen around here.

    If she was deaf, how did she hold a conversation with the manager, though? Was she reading his lips?

    I’m sure the corporate offices would scrape and bow regardless of whether or not she’s right. They know that any perceived slight as seen by the ADA will screw them. In the long run it’s more profitable to not argue either way.

  158. mikelotus says:

    @stinkingbob: i don’t assume guilt or innocence based on having a disability. i have no clue what you might or might not have done in the past.

  159. Buran says:

    @cde: Deafness is not a reason to be denied a license. I’m hard of hearing and it’s not a barrier to my driving.

    Crappy drivethru speakers are, however, a barrier to my getting the same service everyone else gets.

    And I agree with all of you who think the anti-ADA whiners need to shut up. You’re that heartless that you don’t care about those who can’t live a normal life and need all the help they can get?

  160. cde says:

    @Fry: Disabled ppl pay taxes, which go the government which gives tax breaks and incentives to companies for doing things or building there. ADA law is just part of the regular business tenets of the government allowing you to run a business here in exchange for following the law.

    @Buran: Reread my comment. “IF” is a qualifier there for a reason.

    @synergy: Reading lips, contextual (as in facial expressions and pointing at items) clues, human vocal range that isn’t conveyed in a speaker box, lack of static and dropped words due to radio interference.

  161. this_is_my_username says:

    I’m unclear how anyone could side with the manager on this one. It’s one thing to say that they couldn’t open the window without an order due to safety reasons, but since the manager opened the window to talk with the woman, that clearly wasn’t an issue. Sure, it’s important to get both sides of an issue, but what exactly would the other side be here? Even if the lady was extremely rude, why should that have prevented her from having her order taken? Last time I checked, rude customers are known to exist in the “service” industry.

    Common sense and the most basic of managerial skills would have dictated that a) there is a customer at the window wanting to place an order; and, b) I work for a business who needs orders to stay in business. It seems there is a lot of middle ground to work with.

    Coming from a background that has some experience with the deaf community (my wife graduated from a deaf school, and I’ve spent a lot of time at deaf clubs and social events), it never ceases to amaze me how misconceptions and preconceptions regarding deaf people are not only commonplace, they are tolerated even among my most progressive of friends.

    To those of you who think there is a safety issue of the deaf holding a driver’s license: I would challenge you to produce even a glimmer of evidence that supports your position. To my knowledge, there isn’t any. Driving is a skill that relies upon a range of mental acuity and mental, physical abilities, of which hearing is only one. Most deaf people are able to partially compensate (and in some circumstances completely compensate) for lack of hearing with heightened sensitivity in their other senses. If deafness is an issue with driving, it’s unlikely that the deaf would pass their required physical driving exam.

  162. tk427 says:


    Is this you?
    Go, girl!

  163. tk427 says:

    Hiring a manager with some flexibility and basic problem-solving skills is common sense, not a special accommodation.

  164. redkamel says:

    The window-person should have accomadated, but maybe he was…since the drive through system is made for speed (or some sembelance of it) Now I am not saying this is what happened but….

    like someone said, maybe he needs to push a special button so all the orders arent off by one. ie..someone pulls up to the speaker, drives away (which happens, they change their mind). He starts taking an order from the next car. Now the car who drove away (the deaf lady) is at the window and wants to place an order. He cant put it in the computer because it would mess up the queue system. In which case she would need to… drive around, get back in line, say “I’m deaf” into the speaker, he pauses the queue, she drives up places an order.

    That makes some (actually, a lot of) sense to me. However, if this is how drive through work (and I think they do) then she SHOULD be familiar with this. Since she WASN’T, maybe thats not how drive throughs work. But I’m not deaf, nor do I work at a drive through. but yeah, I think a system not designed to accomadate ordering at the window without notice is within possibility.

    and to whichever matt is arguing about rights…yes there are government rights and “real rights” or human rights, as we call them. Real rights come from the fact that one is a senitent being. Being a sentient person does not give you the right to be a danger to others while driving, hence driving is not a human right. So feel free to think all you want, and do as you please on your own property, but when you operate anything that is possibly harmful in an area where others are, you have to be careful, or are infringing on others right to live. Please re-read your Ayn Rand.

  165. redkamel says:

    whoops just read the customer in questions post…I guess there is no special button. I’m wrong. She was totally in the right.

    And to make sure I was clear, I think deaf people or any type of disabled people can drive (since there are various degrees, some people who drive are required to wear glasses or they are legally blind, and some paraplegics can drive too I belive). Its just that driving is not a human right. Its regulated for a reason.

    I am also surprised (and I am not talking down or anything) that a lot of people dont know how deafness is measured..its like vision. You can be legally blind, but still see. You just dont see well enough and have to wear glasses. Some people are deaf, but can still hear…just not very well. So they read lips, use a hearing aid or do whatever else they need to do to hear. FYI.

  166. KogeLiz says:

    weird that she could hear the guy at the window but not at the super loud speaker.

    employees making crap money at crap places do what they’re told in fear of losing their jobs. i dont think they know much about ADA.

    it wouldve been awesome if the cops were called.

    Sounds like corp is trying to make things right, though.

  167. cde says:

    @redkamel: Freedom of Speech is a human right, but that’s still regulated. So is liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Yet if I break the law I get arrested and denied my liberty. If I pursuit my happiness because I like hitting people in the head with a brick or shooting down birds that look funny cause they are bald, I get arrested.

  168. clickable says:


    She. Had. Already. Done. That.

    That’s how the episode began. She stopped at the speaker, reported that she would be driving round to the window and explained why (because she could not hear anything at the speaker), and then she proceeded to the window. No need to make her drive round to the speaker again.


    You’re not taking into account that a deaf person’s speech is very distinctive; think of the actress Marlee Matlin, who is very highly accomplished in speech. The woman’s deafness would have been obvious within seconds after she started speaking even if she didn’t explain it in so many words.

    Also, she informed them of her deafness when she announced it on the speaker as she arrived at the place. She went to the speaker first, where she explained that she could not hear anything and would therefore be driving around to the window to place her order there. She then pulled up to the window where she could see the server, and probably communicate by lipreading. She did exactly what she should have done.

  169. clickable says:


    Here’s another one who’s reading aloud in his own voice, and who is not a deaf person. Please keep in mind that the lady is deaf and even if she can speak,you would immediately realize that she is deaf. Deaf people have very distinctive and very different speech from people with normal hearing. Also, she probably reads lips to “hear” others speaking to her, so her body language would also make it clear that has this condition. The manager would have known without needing an explanation, and so would you if you had been there.

  170. clickable says:

    @DeafMom: Hi DeafMom, didn’t realize you were onboard with us. You can argue your own case better than anyone. Sorry you ran into that moron of a manager. I hope the corporate office makes things right.

  171. avsfan123 says:

    @hordeofragingmonks: omg not just a deaf person, a deaf MOTHER! This could only be more complete if she was a cancer surviving deaf blind grandmother.

  172. algormortis says:

    I have horrible troubles with drive-thru speakers because they mess with my hearing aids something awful.

    First time I gave cash to my local Jack in the Crack, I said “Can’t hear a darn thing on these speakers.” So, you know, it meant I had to pull around and wait, the rational thing for these Steak and Shake idiots to have the customer do.

    Alas, no, they just decide to be obstinate. Forget the ADA, it’s just jerkish behavior. I’ve never had a fast food place fail to understand, from Bellingham to San Diego, from San Francisco to Ogunquit; I don’t really get what the heck their problem was with Ms. Plotz, but they really need to re-examine their priorities.

  173. DeafMom says:


    Yes, that’s me.

  174. DeafMom says:


    I was born with normal hearing. I grew up hard of hearing and when I was nineteen, I became deaf from a hard fall while barefooting (waterskiing on bare feet). We have a rare gene in our family, one of only three in the world at this point.

    I can hear sounds but I can’t make any sense of them unless they’re matched by lipreading or written down. So when someone talks to me from behind, it sounds like a bunch of vowels. Try understanding this sentence:

    Th cw jmpd vr th fnce. You can understand that sentence and some people with hearing loss can do that too.

    For me, I understand mostly vowels. So I hear: “uh ow uh er eh. Makes no sense to me and no matter how loud something is, that’s what I hear.

    Think also of a radio, if it’s out of tune and you turn it up louder, it’s still not going to be any clearer.

  175. PinkBox says:

    I don’t understand the point of the manager telling her she had to go back to the speaker to let him know she was deaf.

    She’d have to wait in line again (who knows how long the line was to begin with), and how is she supposed to know if someone was able to hear her when she spoke to the speaker to let them know she was deaf and that she’d be pulling up to the window?

    Obviously the only option a deaf person has is to pull up to the window, and with three children in the car, it is silly to insist that she should have to go inside. People go through drive throughs for a reason – so why should she be any different because she can’t hear at the speaker? I’m sure it couldn’t have been THAT difficult for the manager to assist her at the window.

    The “she should have said she was deaf from the get to” statements do not hold water with me either. She said she couldn’t hear/interact with the speaker. That should have been enough.

    The manager was an ass.

  176. HappyCustomer says:

    An apology is not good enough. This manager needs to be fired. He went out of his way to be a jerk.

  177. kalmakazee says:

    I’m not saying that I agree with stinkingbob’s opinions on this incident because I don’t agree with him. I kinda feel like he is trying to make up scenerios of what could have happened but I will say one thing that he is right about. Y’all don’t have to bash him in a cold way on his opinions. Different people think differently. No matter how anyone lQQks at anything there will always be somebody or two that just sees things differently. It’s one thing stinkingbob was writing his opinions in a way that sounded uncaring such as the post consumerist recently had posted. You can read here []

    You can tell stinkingbob in a nice way that y’all disagree with him without freaking out and taking everything to heart.

    I don’t think that stinkingbob is trying to be an a-hole with his opinions and plus he didn’t bash anyone else in a cold manner.

    Stinkingbob responded politely to all his critics.

    Now is everyone going to start bashing me, lol. :-)

    I do feel though that stinkingbob is being a bit judgemental on why a homeless person should not have a right to drive.

    When I drive my car I like to blast the music as loud as it can go. I have eyes though and i can see what is going on around me.

    As far as the speakers go when you pull up at a drive thru. I always ask to be allowed to pull up at the drive-thru window because I find that it is much easier to order at the window and besides i can’t understand a freaking word anyone is saying through the drive thru speaker. The drive thru speaker has too much static.

    Some people commented why can’t the lady just go inside and order.

    My response to this is why should she have to? She should be allowed to order the same way as everyone else.

  178. kalmakazee says:

    I do feel though that stinkingbob is being a bit judgemental on why a homeless person should not have a right to drive.

    Correction – not homeless person but *deaf* person.

  179. DeafMom says:

    I guess we’re arguing a moot point since the United States regularly issues drivers licenses to people who are deaf.

    Sure, there are some concerns with sirens and emergency vehicles but those concerns are probably on the same level with people who are listening to loud music, doing things along with driving, etc. People with normal hearing crash into emergency vehicles too.

    Those flashing lights that are installed at intersections to warn of emergency vehicles approaching are for everyone’s safety and not geared only to deaf and hard of hearing people.

  180. psyop63b says:

    Utterly heartless. Who in their right mind hired this @$$hole?

  181. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    “No, you didn’t tell me that,” he said. “If you had told me about your disability then I could have accommodated you.”

    What if the speaker was malfunctioning? What if there was construction nearby or something else causing a lot of noise? Why isn’t the fact that she couldn’t hear him good enough?

    Why does the reason any customer can’t hear even matter? (Assuming it isn’t because the customer has a lot of noise in their own car, like a radio blasting.)

  182. dualityshift says:

    Ok: On topic: This lady has been hearing impaired for a set period of time, let’s suppose it’s been at least 12 months. Within that period of time, this lady should have had to adjust her lifestyle. This seems reasonable so far, correct? Correct. Now, let’s suppose she’s been out in public before, and had to deal with people. Would it not then make sense to predict that she has had to inform other people of her deafness? Of course it would.

    We can also deduct that the manager is some-what competent, and has an average intelligence for an American man-mammal.

    Presuming the above is correct, she should have stated immediately at the window that she was deaf, not that she could not hear through the speaker. The manager/ordertaker has to deal with morons all day (anyone who;s worked at fastfood knows this to be true.)

    The patience of this manager was tested by this lady. Yes, we must make accommodations for the physically and mentally impaired. However, the title of manager does not equate to mind reader. Though he was wrong for losing patience, she is far more guilty for not stating her condition right away.

  183. The Porkchop Express says:

    @stinkingbob: idiot.

  184. dualityshift says:

    Ok: Off-topic – To all you idiots jumping on stinkingbob for his poorly defended arguments; for shame. I think we can safely say his tirade about a right to drive/privilege to drive comment, he meant to say it is a privilege to possess a driver’s license, not a right.

    It isn’t his fault his brain was damaged. His mom didn’t drop him on his head, she threw him.

  185. dualityshift says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Most fast food places have a policy of order at the speaker, not the window to keep orders straight and to protect the employees (apparently) from hold ups. BK and McDs are on this policy hard. Driving to the window and saying you can’t hear/understand through the speaker will get you told the policy. Saying you are legally deaf will get your oder placed at the window.

  186. MPHinPgh says:

    I have all kinds of thoughts on this one, but they pretty much all boil down to this…

    The manager is a moron. Policy or no, there was no need to be an ass about this. A little common sense and maybe just a touch of compassion was all that was needed.

    And Stinkbob is a douche. My guess is that he’s only out to yank everyone’s chain. Either that, or he’s simply so heartless and cold that he just doesn’t give a shit about anyone.

  187. Saboth says:

    Kind of unrelated, but my girlfriend tried to place an order at McDonalds late one night. She placed the order and they told her they could only take 2 orders at the late night window. If she wanted to place more than 2 orders, she would have to circle the drivethru and do the process all over again for every order past 2….

  188. RRich says:

    Idiot manager needs to be staked and shaked, imho.

    No excuse for this sort of thing.

    Even if he was ignorant of ADA, common courtesy should have prevailed.

  189. polyeaster says:

    I know several mothers who are deaf…they are perfectly capable of safely driving their kids around, doing normal tasks- I found StinkingBob’s comment a little offensive…they are regular people who can’t hear…they are probably more alert than those of us who drive around with our system up:)

  190. cerbie says:

    @akalish: it’s probably related to their being able to not bother accommodating normal folks who don’t need anything extra. If they can’t do that (a few like Chic-fi-la, are exceptions), why expect them to handle someone out of the norm in any acceptable manner?

    I’m not deaf, and I don’t do drive-thrus, because I can’t understand their PAs half the time, and don’t know until too late if the order was done right. Luckily, I don’t have kids in the back to worry about.

    @ad8bc: but, see, the ADA exists because not enough are willing to help accommodate people that may need it.

    “Learning disabled” kids wouldn’t need handicaps on tests if they were taught better, and had decent tests.

    If wheelchair bound folks would be let in the side door, ramps wouldn’t be such a holy cow (big stalls with rails around the crapper probably would be, still).

    If a guy at a fast food joint window would just give a deaf lady some slack, and be able to think for themselves and fit her very simple food request in, she would not have to wave the ADA around. She would have gotten her food, and gotten on with her day.

    The guy at the window could have simply asked her why she didn’t order at the window, if he indeed did not hear her warn him about her deafness, and also didn’t notice it in how she behaved, and could have then taken it from there.

    @DeafMom: going around is based on assuming there is a queue of orders going through, and that you were not the only one there, and it will take a minute or two to get the order ready, etc. etc.. If there were a line, that would be reasonable.

    @dualityshift: nice. I’ve not stepped foot in one in several years now, nor used one’s drive-trhu, but man…that just gives me so much encouragement to ditch local hole-in-the-walls with good people and good food, so I can save a few minutes.

  191. Zagroseckt says:

    /quote/ BY CDE AT 01/27/08 02:32 PM @stinkingbob: If her hearing was that big of a safety issue, she would be denied a license, which the ADA would check for while investigating the case.

    I beg your pardon but hearing is not requierd to drive.
    totaly deaf people have allways ben able to drive.

    now Eye sight is a horse of a difrent collor.

  192. DeafMom says:

    Here’s the thing, the manager was told several times during our lengthy exchange that I could not use the speaker phone. I told him I couldn’t hear, pointed to my ear, also explained that I’m deaf, told him about the Americans with Disabilities Act, showed him my hearing aids and not once during our exchange did he have the common sense to shift his attitude to one of customer accommodation or customer service. He chose not to fill the order, told me that I had to leave (twice) and I drove away without the two shakes that I ordered. Let’s not forget that he also threated to call the police.

    All the guy had to do was simply apologize at some point in this exchange, fill the order and then I probably would have grumbled about poor customer service to my friends. It certainly would not have hit the news.

  193. BP2012 says:

    Interesting comments here, some of you mentioned that “God forbid, if she has kids.” or relating to the driving issue of being deaf and not hearing sirens, etc.

    It goes to show how some of you are inept, uneducated, and unsympathetic.

    I work hard everyday (3 times harder because of those inept people who thinks I cant do the job). I am married and have 2 kids of my own. I have a Ph.D in Political Science and I’m a director (23 staff work under me). My wife has a Masters in Education as well. I drive to places everday and have a clean driving record.


    My wife and I are deaf and we enjoy reading the scarastic comments about deafness gives us pleasures that there are more inept and uneducated people out there.

    These people sometimes struggle with the issue that this is 2008. Not 1790, where they put disabled people in asylum or worse beaten and killed. The only thing I have to say is, “God forbid, if they have a deaf child or be deaf themselves or worse disabled.”

    Looks like it could bite you in the butt if you are in that situation.


  194. @stinkingbob: “Honestly, I find that the loudspeakers at the drive thru are quite loud enough even for somebody who is half-deaf.”

    Even for people who are only partially deaf, there are some types and qualities of sound that are harder to hear than others. Background sound makes a big difference as well.

    @stinkingbob: “If someone is deaf, it presents a very serious safety issue to everyone involved on the road.”

    Actually, they say a larger safety issue is the better sound-proofing in cars that makes even folks with excellent hearing have a hard time hearing sirens … and unlike the deaf, they’re not used to looking for lights w/o hearing a siren. Are you going to go get yourself a 69 Gremlin just so you in your well-insulated car can stop being a serious safety hazard to everyone else on the road?

  195. cde says:

    @Zagroseckt: Look at the Qualifiers IF and WAS. Reread my statement and the comment I was replying to.

  196. stinkingbob says:

    Guys, I am not an uncaring person. I am not some mean individual who is looking to bash the innocent. I don’t favor businesses. What I want is the truth. I want to hear both sides of the story. Is there anything wrong with this??? Now, I read the lady’s story over again and it is a 1-sided version of her account of what happened.
    Don’t you think that more things transpired between her and the manager than what she is telling you? What did she leave out? How was her demeanor towards the manger? Did she drive up with an attitude towards him? For you see people, I find it very very hard to believe that the manager would be such as A_hole to her about the drive thru if he was not provoked in some way. Granted, he is young and may lack some people skills, but there comes a point where, if someone is dis-respectful to you, you will not help them and will be rude to them. You see, in order to get respect, you have to give respect. It doesn’t matter if you are in the service industry or not. If a customer is yelling at you demanding something, then are you really going to help this person?? I don’t think so.
    I find it amazing that people will always take the side of someone who is disabled when it involves a business. They don’t want to hear the facts, just the one side of the story. And, anyone who disagrees with them is automatically labeled a bad person and called names which the majority of you have done to me. Some are actually funny and for some, I feel sorry for. Your demeanor in this forum only exemplifies the type of person you are when you are confronted with a situation similiar to the ladies. You probably would rant and rave and then when the manager tells you to take a hike, you cry foul and complain about how you were wronged.
    With that said, there are parts missing from the ladies story. All I want is to know the managers point of view. Again, I can’t see an individual who would be mean and rude and yell at someone unless he was provoked in some way.

  197. Razzler says:

    Am I reading that correctly? Her name is ‘Putz’?

    Yikes. My condolences, lady.

  198. DeafMom says:


    Yup, I married a Putz (a nice one). You can save the putz jokes, I’ve heard just about every one of them throughout the years. Comedian Marty Putz probably has a dozen of them in his act.

  199. reznicek111 says:

    @stinkingbob: Using the premise that a driver’s inability to hear sirens should prevent them from driving, then we shouldn’t we ban loud car stereos, as well? That’s why emergency vehicles have…FLASHING LIGHTS. :)

  200. MPHinPgh says:

    @cde: “Guys, I am not an uncaring person”

    I dunno…you could have fooled me. You say you only want the truth…both sides of the story…

    There shouldn’t even BE two sides to this. The woman pulled up and informed (whomever) that she is hearing impaired and needs to place her order at the window. The response should have been “Yes ma’am, no problem. What can I get for you?” What effort would that have taken?

    I find it unlikely that some a-hole at “corporate” wrote a policy that specifies “All orders must be placed at the speaker, no exceptions” WTF good does that do?

    If the woman was beligerent, shame on her, but I’ll bet it was in response to the manager’s remarks. I still believe the manager was being an ass.

    And judging from the responses to your posts, the majority seem to be in’re a douche (or insert other derogatory name here).

  201. MPHinPgh says:


    How did I quote CDE?

    My bad…that was to be directed to Douche (er, I mean StinkingBob).

  202. stinkingbob says:

    Mph, you make it sound sooooo simple. But again, you are one of those individuals who only listen to one side and are not open to the truth. I really feel sorry for you and for any person that has to deal with people like you because I can see that you are very unreasonable. But, I respect that. That is how you are. So, peace man. We agree to disagree.

  203. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @MPHinPgh: I’ve found that every once in a while the reply button ends up in a weird place so it looks like it’s for one comment but it’s really for the one above/below it.

  204. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @dualityshift: So if nearby construction noise makes it impossible to place orders at the speaker, everyone wanting to use the drive-thru is out of luck?

  205. the_wiggle says:

    @cryrevolution: well summed & said.

  206. kylenalepa says:

    It looks like I’m the only one who actually agrees, to an extent, with stinkingbob. There are a lot of things that could be going on here:

    1. The manager may not have been aware of that specific provision of the ADA. Although I haven’t worked at a food establishment, I have been a manager (on duty) at a retail store and was never given any training regarding aspects of the ADA that I might need to be aware of. It’s entirely possible that the manager thought this person was making something up that, if he accommodated her, could get him in trouble.

    2. The lady should have said from the outset that she was deaf, rather than saying that she “[couldn’t] hear back there.” Store policies are there for a reason, and you can’t have people breaking them for whatever reason. Obviously, the manager should have allowed her to order at the window after finding out she was deaf, but if he thought she was able to hear just as well as anybody else, then there was justification for having her order at the speaker like everybody else.

    3. Deaf people shouldn’t drive. Period. It’s completely unsafe and puts themselves and others at risk. I didn’t even know that deaf people were allowed to drive until reading this post. Similarly, people shouldn’t wear headphones or listen to music at excessive volumes while driving.

    Now, it’s obvious the manager did not handle the situation as well as he could have (or should have). However, all you people calling him one of the worst, most evil people ever should get down off your pedestals and try to look at both sides of the issue here.

  207. DeafLEGO says:

    WOW! We are surrounded by such MORONS!!! Now not only does something really STINK around here but some K-NALE is smelling bad too.

    People who think Deaf shouldn’t be allow to drive are the people who shouldn’t be allowed to breed!

  208. BP2012 says:


    Interesting comment you made about when you said that “Deaf people shouldn’t drive and it puts other at risk.”

    Prove it to me…I challenge you.

    You know what, nevermind, it is pointless to explain because it seems that you have a lack of understanding how the world works. Looks like you join the ranks of mentally incapacitate.


  209. qmsterling says:

    Wow! Deaf people are allowed to DRIVE??

  210. sajego says:

    According to the Department of Transportation, almost all driving decisions are made on the basis of sight, not sound. Thus, a deaf driver is functionally no different than a hearing driver in terms of making driving-related decisions. This is especially true when you take into account the “quiet-ride” designs of cars, radios, cell phones, and other noises that distract a driver who can hear.

    I’ve even heard of insurance companies giving deaf drivers a discount on their premiums for being lower risk.

  211. matt1978 says:

    @matt: It’s nice to be able to sit around, watch Space Jam, and google all aspects of the law. That’s what college is all about.

    You probably really don’t even care about this issue, it’s just that you really don’t have anything to do.

  212. DeafMom says:

    Aw, gee, I guess I better hand my Driver’s License over to Kylenalepa.


    Perhaps a little more research and awareness would help you understand that there are a couple million deaf and hard of hearing people on the road every day. You wouldn’t know that because they aren’t regularly crashing into other cars every minute of the day.

  213. deaf says:

    I’m deaf, obviously. A few comments were made that are incorrect. First is that when you lose hearing or eyesight, your hearing gets more acute or your sight improves. That’s totally impossible. I notice things quicker than hearing people, in general, because I’m actively looking for changes. Blind people are actively listening for cues.

    The reason you can drive when deaf, but you can’t drive with headphones or earplugs is because those are considered to be a distraction. Not having hearing isn’t distracting. There’s also no legal definition of deaf the way that there is for blindness. Someone who is more deaf than someone else might be able to function better in hearing society and that is where hearing loss matters (it’s considered a communicative disability for a reason).

    Someone said that at BK and MD that if you pull up and try to order at the window without saying you’re deaf you get turned away. This is false. According to the ADA, you simply have to state that you have a disability and state your needed accommodation. You can’t be asked what disability you have, why you need something, etc. There are a few situations where you need proof of a disability, like getting accommodations at a school since a lot of money goes into those and they want to make sure it’s going to those who really need it, and also so that able-bodied aren’t trying to take advantage and have it made easier for them.

  214. dualityshift says:

    “The woman pulled up and informed (whomever) that she is hearing impaired and needs to place her order at the window.”

    She, by her own claim, said she could not hear through the speaker. She did not say she was legally deaf. When she finally blurted it out, both her and the manager were so upset, no amount of coddling would have made this right.

    This manager should be fired. No question. The lady isn’t blameless though. Had she said she was legally deaf in the first place, things most likely would have turned out different.

  215. harleygirl67 says:

    I had to stop reading the comments before my blood started boiling. Here’s my take. I know the lady this happened to and I believe her. She has a calm demeanor so this manager must’ve really been a jerk. I’ve been in this situation many times myself.

    I wanted to share something for all those who say ‘just go in and order’. I’ve done that before and there was one particularly horrendous experience. I ordered at a local McDonald’s and the woman taking my order could not understand me at all and I could not understand her. Her first language was Spanish, not English. I ended up asking the manager to come over and take the order, which he did in 10 seconds flat.

    Before you go off saying I probably don’t speak well, I have cochlear implants and I talk VERY well. I love music and can converse without a problem. BUT I cannot for the life of me order through those drive thru speakers AT ALL!!! I am one of those people who would go up to the window and I do and I would NOT expect the idiot to tell me to drive thru again!

    So there is no pat answer, or solution. Everyone is different and food/retail businesses need to accommodate all disabilities and go with the flow :-)

  216. DeafMom says:

    I had a meeting with the executives from Steak ‘n Shake. They admitted that this manager didn’t follow any of their five principles for customer service, starting from the very first sentence out of my mouth. The very first one is to LISTEN to the customer.

    You can read more here:


  217. fdrich29 says:

    I had to create an account today after reading through this story and the passionate replies that have been made. It’s rare that there are two major news events involving the Deaf community in the same week, but we have Deafmom’s situation and the Pepsico commerical happening at the same time.

    My wife is Deaf, I am not. She is a mom as well, she just gave birth to our daughter in December. And yes, she drives.

    I have to say Bob’s initial comments infuriated me, but as much as I don’t agree with his comments, especially the initial ones regarding Deaf/driving, I am a firm believer of hearing both sides of the story, especially with anything political. In Bob’s frame of reference he doesn’t see how the manager could have acted in such a way if not provoked. I on the other hand see this all too frequently. I’m a behavior specialist and work with people who are developmentally disabled (mentally retarded). I can understand Bob wanting the manager’s point of view, but his post comes across as Deafmom is guilty until proven innocent, which can’t happen until we hear from the manager. I think his version would be essential in ensuring this doesn’t happen in the future, but I hardly find it irresponsible to make the initial assumption Deafmom was most likely in the right here. What was his thought process? Was he simply following his interpretation of procedures? Was he discriminating? Did he not understand the situation? All of this information would be quite valuable in training the staff so this situation can be avoided.

    There was a comment made that Deaf people should not be allowed to drive, and the author came across as meaning under no circumstances. I of course whole heartedly disagree. Was that comment made after reviewing data that showed Deaf people having a higher rate of accidents than hearing people or are you just assuming that due to a level of hearing loss they shouldn’t drive? I can understand having a concern for safety, but several Deaf people have been active in this thread, why not ask them what they’ve done in situations where an ambulance or police car has been behind them? Get some insight before making a blanket statement that comes across as negative, and to be quite honest, ignorant? In my experience, which is not the be all/end all on this subject, if a Deaf person is driving and doesn’t hear the siren, or see the lights they see all the cars in front of them and behind them pulling over and do the same, realizing there’s an emergency vehicle approaching.

    Are there bad Deaf drivers? Of course. Especially those who text message while driving, which many communities are creating formal laws for. Also signing while driving should be done so only when safe. I would have little tolerance for a Deaf person who said an accident was not their fault because they couldn’t hear something. Driving is a privilidge, not a right and we all have to take responsibility for our actions.

    Bob thank you for apologizing. It’s very easy to make provocotive comments on the internet and hide behind it’s aninimity. Apologizing and being open to points of view other than your own speaks volumes of your character, more so than your initial comments which we’re insensitive at best.

    Way to go Deafmom!


  218. DeafMom says:

    BY DUALITYSHIFT AT 01/31/08 09:02 AM

    “The woman pulled up and informed (whomever) that she is hearing impaired and needs to place her order at the window.”

    She, by her own claim, said she could not hear through the speaker. She did not say she was legally deaf. When she finally blurted it out, both her and the manager were so upset, no amount of coddling would have made this right.

    This manager should be fired. No question. The lady isn’t blameless though. Had she said she was legally deaf in the first place, things most likely would have turned out different.

    Had this manager, at ANY point in this process, made the decision to serve me the shakes, I don’t think we would be discussing this on internet. I would have gone on with my day, and probably shared this with a few friends and grumbled about the lack of access and poor service.

    The fact that this manager broke all FIVE of Steak ‘n Shake’s service principles, is the reason that this has happened. Customers are meant to be served. The fact that I could not use the speaker in the manner that the manager insisted that I follow means that an accommodation has to happen. This manager chose not to accommodate me, even after multiple explanations. I was threatened with the police, dismissed from the window without the shakes that were ordered– tell me, where is the blame in this?

  219. Brian Andrew Milburn says:

    Astounding. I’m from Northwestern Chicagoland and often went to a SnS near John Hersey High School, which has a large deaf program, throughout my formative years. I didn’t really experience any problems there. But this case clearly shows that SnS has short-sighted corporate training and procedures. And insta-coffee lawyers, too.

    I’ll be telling my deaf buddies in Chicagoland about this incident and SnS’s deficient corporate policies.

  220. deafwriter says:

    Statistically speaking, Deaf drivers are actually BETTER drivers than hearing people. In addition, being Deaf and driving is really no different than a hearing person cranking up the radio or talking on the cell phone while driving. Those of you who quote deafness as a “safety hazard” are just plain ignorant to the facts. As for this situation with the manager, there’s no excuse for it. She should be severely reprimanded and required to attend training on the ADA.