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Bluewater retail worker speaks out about deaf discrimination after viral video

A retail worker who is hard-of-hearing has spoken out against inconsiderate customers who are not sympathetic of her disability.

Amie Bodkin works in a store in Bluewater and often encounters people who fail to realise why she may be struggling to hear or understand them.

She spoke out after coming across a viral video of a deaf man being refused service at a drive-thru simply because he was deaf.

Amie Bodkin (right) and her sister, Mia
Amie Bodkin (right) and her sister, Mia

The video shows the man, Brandon Washburn, attempting to place an order at the Taco Bell drive-thru in Kettering, Ohio, by using his phone screen to present his order.

He is told by the server that it is "against company policy" to take his order, who goes on to threaten calling the police on Washburn.

The incident was recorded by the man’s girlfriend, and the employee was later fired by Taco Bell.

Responding to the video on Facebook, Amie said: "I never usually post my views but as someone that is hard of hearing, I find this incredibly frustrating.

"Being deaf or hard-of-hearing is hard enough without being refused service because of something you can’t help."

The 21 year-old from Worcester Close, Istead Rise, often takes orders both face-to-face and over the phone in the shop.

She said: "As part of my job, I frequently have to take people’s names and contact information for some of the services that we provide and sometimes I do struggle with understanding what customers say as I can sometimes mix up the sounds of various letters and numbers.

"As crazy as it sounds, some letters and numbers sound alike to me and I have to ask once, twice or three more times to check I have gotten it right.

"There have been incidents where customers have gotten frustrated with me and tutted, sighed or rolled their eyes and speak to me as if I was stupid.

"I try exceptionally hard every day at work trying to keep up with everyone else and it is extremely exhausting.

"I am not embarrassed of my disability but I believe that any disability is under-represented and there is a lack of knowledge and understanding on the subject."

Amie had just began primary school when she was given her first pair of hearing aids.

She acknowledges that deafness and hearing impairment is a "hidden" disability.

She added: "It’s not always obvious that you are deaf because not everyone has hearing aids or cochlear implants, or if they do, many people decide to hide them.

"Everyone has bad days and extremely hectic lives and I do recognise that spending longer at a till-point than necessary is not ideal."

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