Unsplash | Isabella and Zsa Fischer

A Deaf Mother Was Refused Service At Dunkin' Donuts So She's Telling Her Story To Help Others

There are 11.5 million Americans living with hearing loss. One of those is Shannon Heroux.

The mother recently experienced something no deaf person should ever experience: she was refused service. Sadly, this happened at Dunkin' Donuts, her favorite place.

She's since called the company out on TikTok as a way to spread awareness to the deaf community.

In her now-viral video, Shannon was emotional, as she explained that she's never been refused service before.

"It hurts," she said. "It hurts really bad.

While she usually wears a cochlear implant to help her hear better, she wasn't wearing it in the store.

Due to that, she had to rely on lip-reading.

Unsplash | Katie Moum

This is, of course, not uncommon.

But the employee behind the counter allegedly refused to take her mask off so Heroux could read her lips.

The manager refused to do the same.

They also refused to write on a notepad to communicate with her. This was despite the fact that Shannon told them she was deaf and required extra assistance.

In case those were worried about removing a mask because of COVID, Heroux reassured viewers that she and the unhelpful manager were separated by Plexiglass.

Unsplash | Eric Ward

They were also six feet apart during the exchange.

“I could just tell by his body language and his face he was going off," she said in the video.

She adding that, because she speaks so clearly, "I could tell he didn't believe I'm deaf."

Unsplash | Jo Hilton

Since her video went viral, Shannon was met with so many supportive comments.

I couldn't be happier that people are rallying around her.

"I'm so sorry. This breaks my heart. The manager at @Dunkin needs to be talked to immediately," one wrote.

"Discrimination everywhere is getting out of hand...good for you for calling them out," added another.

"Even if the employee policy is to keep the mask on, they still should have tried to communicate with you. Write on paper, type on phone, ANYTHING," wrote a third.

Unsplash | Isabella and Zsa Fischer

Many people encouraged Shannon to file a civil rights complaint and even offered to help her do it.

One even specified that what the manager did is against the law: discrimination against a disability.

Some users also encouraged her to visit Starbucks where employees learn ASL to communicate with deaf customers.

Since Heroux's video went viral, Dunkin' Donuts has reached out and been “very apologetic" as the situation gets handled.

She also heard from the franchise owner of that location, who offered to meet with her and discuss what happened.

“We take matters like this very seriously,” a Dunkin’ Donuts representative said in a statement.

Unsplash | Lu Amaral

Shannon, who lost her hearing at four years old, told Yahoo Life that she's sharing her story to spread awareness.

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time that this has happened.

Unsplash | Kristina Tripkovic

She said that her experience at Dunkin' Donuts was the final straw after being treated similarly at other establishments.

This includes other "rude" managers who failed to accommodate her.

She said that big chains like Dunkin' Donuts need to incorporate training on how to properly handle situations where communication through masks is impossible, she explained.

Unsplash | Luca

"The masks aren't going away anytime soon so extra measures should be taken for healthy and effective communication," she added.

She then encouraged her "fellow deaf warriors" to stand up for themselves.

“Don't always depend on someone else to do it for you. You are your own advocate, and I know it's scary in a world without sound."

"That piece gets taken from us when we are inserted to communicate with a hearing society with an added disadvantage," she said.

Unsplash | Sincerely Media

“I enjoy being deaf. I enjoy having the best of both worlds," she continued.

"I promised myself to always be my best and that my deafness will not hold me back ... "

"This is not something we asked for, but were born with. Everyone has their problems, but you are no different. Stand your ground. Speak up."