A Facebook user shared how her deaf sister was heavily ridiculed by the staff of a 24-hour convenience store in Makati when she attempted to buy cellphone load.
Jhana Evangelista recounted that her sister only wanted to buy a prepaid card for a cellphone load worth P50 at a 7-Eleven located at Vicente Madrigal Building.
Being deaf, her sister communicates to people in commercial establishments by typing her orders or requests on her cellphone and then showing it to them.
However, the staff behind the convenient store’s cash register handed her a cellphone load worth P500 and allegedly laughed at her in response. Another staff reportedly joined in the laughter.
“This made my sister very furious to the point of uttering this phrase, ‘Bakit tawa tawa kayo’ (Why are you laughing?) despite her difficulty in articulating those words while making a gesture to express herself,” Evangelista wrote.
“These employees just continued giggling until my sister slammed the cashier’s desk with a 50php bill, crumpled the receipt and threw it in the trash as she stormed out of the store in a rage,” she added.
“She found herself in a state of complete anguish that she just kept walking away while her eyes were brimming with tears,” Evangelista continued.
Deaf, not dumb On September 4, 2019 around 5:30 pm, my sister went to 7-11 Madrigal Building Makati Branch to purchase…
Evangelista said that the incident was not just a display of “poor customer service” but a case of “discrimination and plain cruelty” by the convenience store staff.
“The 7-11 cashier person was clearly taking advantage of my sister as she was being tricked into getting a 500php worth of prepaid card and was laughed at her expense,” she wrote.
Evangelista also urged hiring managers and administrative staff of the convenient store to make their employees “understand the culture of people with disabilities” and “uphold a code of conduct based on the shared values of respect, fairness and equality.”
In a follow-up post, she clarified that she did not intend to “humiliate anybody or convey hate or anger” with her account.
Hi everyone, I was overwhelmed with people's response and I just want to be clear that my intention on my previous post…
“My message is clear and it is to raise awareness on cultural competency and discrimination among the deaf community,” Evangelista wrote.
She added that issue has already been settled between them and the staff and management of the convenient store.
“They reviewed the CCTV footage and apologized to my mom and my whole family for what my sister had to go through,” Evangelista wrote.
“The company also reached out to me hoping that they can personally apologize to my sister. We appreciate the time and effort from 7- Eleven Philippines to resolve this quickly,” she added.
Evangelista hoped that her sister’s experience would impart a lesson “to treat each and everyone with kindness and respect.”
It is against the law to ridicule and vilify PWDs
Ridiculing and vilifying a person with disability is legally prohibited and can merit one to be fined or imprisoned for a certain period.
Republic Act 7277 or the “Magna Carta for Disabled Persons” protects them from being discriminated on in workplaces, public transportation and in accommodation and services.
It is amended under Republic Act 9442 which highlights that PWDs cannot be specifically ridiculed for their state or condition, whether it is through verbal or non-verbal means. Some of the specific acts include:
- Making fun of a person on account of his/her disability even through jokes in a manner that is degrading resulting to the embarrassment of the person with disability in front of two or more persons;
- Making mockery of a person with disability whether in oral or in writing.
The law also states that PWDs cannot be vilified or defamed through the following:
- Calling a person by his disability in public which results to humiliation;
- Using the disability of a person as an example in a manner that is embarrassing and humiliating to the dignity of persons with disability.
It also prohibits any “activity in public which incites hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of persons with disability.”
First-time violators can be fined from P50,000 to P100,000 or be sentenced to jail for six months up to two years.
If the offender is a corporation or an entity, the officials who are directly involved in the incident would be penalized.