TAMPA, Fla. - A Tampa 7-Eleven clerk caught on video talking back to a customer is causing outrage for people especially among the Hispanic community.
Attorney George Lorenzo says Yasmany Rodriguez took the video on his cellphone after he'd asked the clerk for a pack of cigarettes in broken English.
He says the clerk then asked Rodriguez to specify which ones, to which Rodriguez responded in Spanish. That's when Rodriguez says the clerk asked him if he was in the country legally and spoke English. He began recording the video encounter after a few bystanders stepped in to his defense.
"Listen to me," the clerk is heard saying to the bystanders, "are you here legally? Do you have papers?"
His tone gets louder and more aggressive as they tell him Rodriguez is indeed an American citizen.
"Does he speak English?" He says referring to Rodgriguez, "then why doesn't he speak English if he's here legally?"
Rodriguez moved to Tampa from Cuba two years ago. He is a legal U.S. citizen who came after his mother petitioned for him under the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program.
Lorenzo says he works full-time and is in the process of learning the English.
Regardless, the video continues to spread online, angering Carlos Perez enough to stand outside a 7-Eleven on Thursday afternoon with a poster where he wrote: "Racism is dead. Stop the ignorance."
"It's unfair," he said, "you're not allowed to treat people like that, no matter what."
A spokesperson for 7-Eleven, Inc. emailed the following statement:
“Every customer is important. The statements made by the sales associate were inappropriate and offensive. We are investigating the matter and will ensure it is handled appropriately.”
A manager inside the store says they've also reviewed the situation and have taken care of it, but wouldn't say how.
Lorenzo says Rodriguez wants people to see the video.
"So they know that with a little bit of respect toward each other, " he said, "everyone can get along."