A birthday celebration at IHOP ended unhappily for a Hispanic family in Los Angeles.
Norma Vasquez and her son Carlos Vasquez were enjoying a meal to celebrate his upcoming birthday when she began speaking to her son in Spanish. Another patron overheard their conversation and began to berate her for speaking her native language. A video of the incident, which was shared by Carlos on Facebook, has since gone viral with more than 15 million views.
"We speak English in America," the woman can be heard saying, attempting to scold Vasquez before adding that Vasquez should "go back to Spain."
Mrs. Vasquez appears tearful and frightened as she tries to explain. "I speak English. Not good, but I speak English," she says.
Vasquez writes on his Facebook page: "So today at IHOP a white lady stepped in and insulted my mother for speaking Spanish. She told my mom to learn English or get out of America. My mom does speak English, with an accent though! I stepped in and didn't let her do that. Please share! This will not stop unless we step in. Latinos tenemos que hablar contra el RACISMO! Here's the video of proof!"
"I got more upset when my mom started to cry. It wasn't fair for my mom to cry to a stranger just because my mom was speaking Spanish," Vasquez told NBC Los Angeles.
Vasquez's mom, a janitor in Los Angeles, described how the altercation ruined her evening. "I felt awful, as though I was worthless," she said to NBC4.