BUSINESS

I Was Assaulted For Speaking English, Tim Hortons Customer Claims

03/12/2014 03:08 EDT | Updated 03/12/2014 03:59 EDT
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A cup of Tim Hortons Inc. coffee is displayed for a photograph in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011. Tim Hortons Inc. is a chain of franchise fast food restaurants that serve coffee drinks, tea, soups, sandwiches, donuts, bagels, and pastries. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tim Hortons seems to be a place where people go to feel all warm and fuzzy about one another, buying each other free coffees and whatnot. But when Canada's endless language debate gets thrown into the mix, warm and fuzzy disappears fast.

In a classic he-said, she-said story that some observers describe as "dubious," a Quebec man says he was assaulted at a Tim Hortons after an employee refused to serve him in English.

The local Tim Hortons outlet sees things differently.

Ron Yaz told CTV Montreal the incident happened last week, when he walked into a Tim Hortons location in Laval and spoke English to a female employee.

I asked the (server) for 12 doughnuts and six muffins and she looked at me like I was totally crazy,” said Yaz, as quoted at CTV.

“She walked to the back of the store, got someone who came up, said two words in English and then said 'maudit anglais,' which I didn’t appreciate very much,” Yaz said.

“Maudit anglais” translates as “cursed English.”

Yaz says he then ended up in a confrontation with two francophone customers.

One of them “pulled something out of his pocket … It was a nightstick. He went to hit me over the head with it, I put my arm up, blocked it, he hit me in the arm, took off,” said Yaz.

Tim Hortons tells a different story. The store manager, who identified himself only as Peter, said Yaz is a regular customer and has been served by the employee in question before.

The manager said the girl doesn’t speak English very well, and Yaz was “insulting and harassing the employee and she start[ed] to cry.”

He said security footage shows no altercation between Yaz and other customers inside the store, but doesn’t know what may have happened outside. Yaz filed a police report but not an official complaint, saying police suggested he should have just spoken French to the employee.

Some observers aren’t buying the story. Eater.com blog describes the incident as “dubious” and points out that Yaz’s Facebook profile indicates he spent time as an inmate at Kingston Penitentiary.

Of course, a criminal record doesn’t necessarily mean one is automatically in the wrong in a case like this.

What do you think? Are language tensions spilling over even into Tim Hortons outlets, or is this all overblown? Let us know in the comments.

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