An employee has been suspended and protests have sprouted outside a Naperville gas station Wednesday after video showing a confrontation between a cashier and group of Hispanic women went viral on social media.
Carolina Buitron said she and her family, some of whom were visiting from Mexico, were victims of discrimination when they stopped at a gas station for chips. The family said they were speaking Spanish when the cashier asked them to leave because they were “illegals.”
"He started asking about my cousins, if they were illegal, family or friends, are they adopted," Buitron said, noting that she then pulled out her cell phone and started recording.
Video footage of the cashier was posted to social media and has since been viewed more than 400,000 times. Though the video does not show the cashier calling the family “illegals” or refusing service, it shows him asking the group if they are citizens and telling them “ICE will come.”
A second video shows the cashier and another customer telling the group “you have no rights.”
Mobil did not immediately respond to NBC Chicago's and Telemundo Chicago’s requests for comment. Bucky’s, which operates the store, said the employee has been suspended "pending an investigation."
"The comments of this associate are not reflective of the core values of Bucky's Convenience Stores," a spokesperson for Bucky's said in a statement. "We are aware of the situation and are managing this personnel issue. We take this matter seriously and strive to ensure that all customers are treated with respect."
Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said area police have reviewed the video and are "looking into it."
"Let me be abundantly clear: hate has no home here in Naperville. Quite frankly, this type of behavior has no place in society at large," he wrote on Facebook Wednesday. "Our city prides itself on being open and inclusive to all. Civility towards each other is an important component of being a global citizen, and I urge everyone in our community to showcase the kindness, compassion, and good decorum that our residents are known for and that our world needs more of."
Separate groups stood outside the west suburban Mobil gas station on Washington Street, some holding signs that read “Build the Wall” and others that read “boycott racism.”
Congressman Raja Kristhnamoorthi addressed the footage Wednesday, telling MSNBC "this is the type of language the president propels and normalizes and it’s unacceptable."
Earlier this week, the Democratic-led U.S. House voted to condemn President Donald Trump's "racist comments" against four congresswomen of color, who he tweeted should "go back" to their home countries. The president later insisted he hasn't "a racist bone in my body" and that his tweets were "NOT racist."
Additional protests were planned for later Wednesday afternoon outside the gas station. The family said they're asking for an apology from the clerk.