KEY POINTS

  • The woman said in emotional TikTok videos that she was denied service at an Encino area Dunkin' Donuts because she's deaf
  • She asked an employee and manager to lower their masks or write down what they were saying, but they refused
  • Dunkin' Donuts and the franchise owner have since reached out to her 

A 32-year-old woman in Los Angeles, California, said she was "hurt" and "heartbroken" after she allegedly was ​refused service at a restaurant because she's deaf.

The North Hollywood woman, identified as Shannon Heroux, tearfully recalled the incident, which happened at an Encino area Dunkin' Donuts, in videos she posted on TikTok, CBS 2 Los Angeles reported.

"I couldn’t hear anything. I wear a cochlear implant, but I didn’t have it on at that time," Heroux explained in the video, which has been viewed more than 11 million times and received over 2 million likes since it was uploaded last week.

"I’ve never been refused service before, and it hurts," she added.

The Uber driver, who described Dunkin' Donuts as her "favorite place to go," said she asked the cashier and the manager to lower their masks so she could read their lips or to write down what they were saying, but they refused.

"He didn’t believe me. You could see it in his body language," said Heroux, who explained that she and the manager were separated by plexiglass and were 6 feet apart during the exchange.

"I kept saying, 'I can't hear you. I can’t hear you. I need to lip read.' He refused to write anything down. He refused to pull his mask down," she added. "And then before I know it, I said, 'Are you going to take my order?' and he said no, or he shook his head no."

Heroux said she was still processing the incident a week after it happened and that the pain has not subsided. "Just utter confusion and just heartbroken," she said.

@shannon_heroux

I was refused service at a Dunkin Donuts because I’m deaf. I want to spread awareness on how this is not okay. Part one of the video.

♬ original sound - shannon_heroux

Heroux alleged that this was not the first time such an incident had occurred during the pandemic and that she was at her "breaking point."

"I've been discriminated [against] this entire pandemic, and it's about time someone does something. Target, Costco, the grocery store, Walmart, now Dunkin', I've had enough. I've had enough," she said in a follow-up video on TikTok.

@shannon_heroux

Discrimination Part 2  please watch Part 1 to get an understanding of what happened and help spread awareness for the deaf community. #pandemic

♬ original sound - shannon_heroux

Dunkin' Donuts has since reached out to Heroux and has been "very apologetic" as people there worked on getting the "situation handled," according to Yahoo News. Additionally, Heroux has been contacted by the franchise owner, who offered to "meet and discuss what happened."

"You know, it's just important that change gets made. I stand up for the deaf community. I'm just really happy I spread awareness. I am happy I reached all of you," Heroux said in a third TikTok video.

Dunkin' Donuts later issued a statement in response to the incident. "We take matters like this very seriously. At Dunkin', we are committed to creating a welcoming environment and treating every guest with dignity and respect. We have contacted the guest to apologize, and we are actively working with her to resolve the matter," the company said.

mask-5503414_1920 Representation. Shannon Heroux, 32, allegedly asked staff at a Dunkin' Donuts to lower their masks or write down what they were saying as she was deaf, but they refused. Photo: Pixabay