Videos of a gas station employee in California yelling at a customer last week for speaking Spanish have gone viral.
Grecya Moran, 28, a stay-at-home mother of four from San Jose went to the gas station cashier's counter to pay for gas and was greeted by an employee in Spanish. After the two had a short and cordial conversation, they were interrupted by another station employee.
“This is America. You need to [speak] in English,” Moran said the employee at the station in San Jose said in the incident on March 28.
Moran said she initially apologized because she didn’t want the woman to think that she and the other station worker had been talking about her.
“She then started saying things like ‘Trump needs to build the wall’. That’s when I realized she was being serious and I took out my phone and started videotaping her,” Moran said.
In the three videos, the employee can be heard cursing and using derogatory language towards Moran. One of the videos posted on Facebook has more than 300,000 views.
“You know what? F--- you...You’re not a United States citizen,” she can be heard screaming in the video.
In the video, Moran replies by saying, “I was born and raised here.”
“Prove it to me motherf-----!” the cashier responds.
“I can’t believe someone would treat me like this,” Moran told NBC News. “She didn’t even care that I had my [18-month-old] son with me.”
Moran said she has had previous brushes with discrimination against her speaking Spanish, but she said that she was shocked by the interaction at the gas station.
“I thought it was a dream. It felt like a nightmare. I couldn’t believe that someone could treat someone else like that. Our race and skin color should not define who we are. We’re all humans,” she said.
In a statement to NBC News, the San Jose Police Department said that a detective has been assigned to the case and they are investigating the incident.
“The victim was speaking Spanish to the clerk when an adult female employee intervened and told them to speak English. An argument ensued and the employee continued yelling at the victim. The victim eventually left the business and later filed a police report,” the incident report stated.
The manager of the gas station told local media that the employee was fired the day of the confrontation.
NBC News reached out to the gas station’s parent company, Vintners Distributors, for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.
In reflecting on the encounter, Moran expressed a hopeful outlook.
“I hope she didn’t mean those hurtful words [she said] to me. I hope and pray that she realizes that we’re all humans and that nobody [deserves] to be treated like that,” she added.
Similar incidents have also attracted wide publicity in the past few years.
In February, a white customer was caught on video swearing at the Spanish-speaking manager of a Mexican restaurant in West Virginia. A New York-based lawyer threatened to call ICE on restaurant employees speaking Spanish. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of two American women were detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after speaking Spanish at a Montana convenience store.