Why Dutch Bros Coffee Is Apologizing To Its Disabled Customers

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against, well, Americans with disabilities, many businesses and institutions still seem to struggle with accessibility and accommodation. For instance, many restaurants have stairs, cramped layouts, and seating that is difficult to reconfigure if necessary. And, as Eater notes, some businesses get by with "technical compliance," essentially the bare minimum accessibility features required by law.

Unfortunately, poor accommodations can lead to some pretty nasty incidents. One of the biggest scandals in Cracker Barrel history, for example, involved a handicap parking spot so steep that a woman's wheelchair rolled away from her vehicle. Cracker Barrel ended up paying more than $800,000 over complaints laid out in that case alone.

However, discrimination against disabled customers is not limited to actions (or inaction) by restaurants as entities. Sometimes, discrimination against customers comes from individual workers, whether they are unwilling to provide accommodations or are just being plain old inconsiderate. 

A Dutch Bros Coffee employee left a rude note for a deaf customer

One Waco, Texas, woman shared her frustrations on TikTok last week after a Dutch Bros Coffee employee wrote on her receipt that she was the "most difficult customer ever." In the video shared by Ashley Vallejo, reports KWTX, the user says that while she is deaf, she can still speak and just wants to "order like everyone else." She asks that fast food workers be patient with customers who have disabilities.

In response to Vallejo's complaint, Dutch Bros Coffee released a statement regarding its zero-tolerance policy for discrimination. "The experience the customer had was deeply disappointing, unacceptable, and against everything Dutch Bros stands for," the company said. "It's our hope we can work with her and the deaf community to ensure we always provide an excellent experience and meet the exceedingly high bar we've set for ourselves." Despite the furious comments directed at the unnamed Dutch Bros employee on TikTok, Vallejo asked viewers to "not attack" them. Instead, she said she wants to "spread awareness to educate employees."