TikTok Is Fuming Over This Viral Wendy's Drive-Thru Argument

Fast food workers are having a moment. Their one-day strikes calling for a $15 minimum wage, which have been going on for nine years now, are starting to gain traction and see results (via Eater Detroit). Their work has been especially hectic over the past year-plus, as they meet the high demand for drive-thru meals during the COVID-19 pandemic (via CNBC). All the while, fast food employees have been risking exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 while feeling that management isn't doing enough to protect them, according to USA Today.

Fast food work is so high stress, with so little pay, that employees at individual Burger King and Wendy's restaurants have quit en masse, according to Vice — right at the time when franchise owners are desperate for employees. Having endured decades of dissatisfaction in their jobs, fast food workers — one of the least protected segments of the U.S. economy — have at last found their power, as Patricia Campos-Medina, co-director of the Worker Institute at Cornell University, told Vice. The mass resignations, she said, are "an act of protest against abuses and exploitative conditions. It's a sense of empowerment that workers don't have to tolerate that kind of abuse."

That sense of, "Were not going to take it anymore" also applies to disrespectful customers, as one such customer recently revealed in his own TikTok video.

A Wendy's employee is having none of teenage customers' rudeness in viral TikTok

"Teenagers pull up to drive-thru" is a whole TikTok subgenre, and one recent example was an excellent illustration of just how little patience fast food workers have for rudeness these days. By the time the video begins, the trouble has already started. The first few seconds aren't a good look for the two people in the car. "You're mad because you hate your job. But anyways, can I get a No. 10?" the male passenger says. The drive-thru employee was already over it. She just says "no" and refuses to say anything else, forcing the young couple to pull up to the window. Before that happens, though, the passenger gets in a couple more verbal jabs, complaining about how slow the line has been and calling the employee "Sharkeisha," a reference to an infamous high school student who badly beat up her friend over a boy in a 2013 video that went viral (via Daily News). Let's just say, this was a pretty brazen and uncalled-for insult.

The interaction only got worse when the teens rolled up to the window. Apparently, the exasperated employee had said, "Oh, my God" over the microphone when the couple was ordering — something the woman driving the car found especially offensive. She said it went against good customer service to be so rude. The employee's comeback perfectly distilled the current state of mind of the fast food worker: "It doesn't matter."

Commenters on the viral Wendy's TikTok sided with the employee

We'll skip over the rest of the conversation. Suffice to say it included a veiled threat and some words not appropriate for a family-friendly website. The passenger, Jervon Speed Jr., whose TikTok videos usually get a few thousand views each, racked up more than 220,000 views with his post of the Wendy's confrontation. He may have thought his followers would sympathize with him, but he got backlash instead.

Some commenters stood up for the fast food worker. "Y'all really thought the ppl were gonna be on your side," @puggsnotdrugs commented. "Nah, we with the worker. They don't get paid enough to deal with y'all bs." Other commenters took offense with the "Sharkeisha" comment. "You know that name has derogatory connotations towards Black women," one commenter said. Another TikTok user commented, in reference to the passenger who did the name-calling, "You would think, as a Black male, he wouldn't find that funny." Mr. Speed jumped into the comments himself a couple times, to explain that he and his girlfriend had really done nothing to deserve the abuse they got from the Wendy's employee.

"I will never care what the worker did, I will always be on their side," a commenter replied. "Normalize customer service workers bringing the same energy that customers have."