Bay Area woman targeted for speaking Spanish; racist rant caught on camera

Tuesday, April 2, 2019
South Bay woman targeted for speaking Spanish, racist rant caught on camera
When customers visit the Shell gas station at Bernal Road and San Ignacio Avenue in South San Jose, they expect a full tank of gas.

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- When customers visit the Shell gas station at Bernal Road and San Ignacio Avenue in South San Jose, they expect a full tank of gas. On Thursday, San Jose resident Grecya Moran also got an earful of racial remarks.

She told KGO she was initially greeted in Spanish by one employee, while another stood nearby. The short conversation in Spanish was soon interrupted by the second employee. She demanded the two speak English.

"I even went up to her and I apologized," Moran said. "I said, 'Excuse me, I'm sorry. All she was saying is-- she was greeting me in Spanish. How my day's going.' And she said, 'I don't care, you talk in English because this is America.'"

Moran said the woman grew even more hostile.

"She started saying something about, 'Trump needs to hurry up and build the wall.' That's when I was like oh my God, she's being serious," Moran said. "I just got my phone, started videotaping her."

The minutes-long confrontation was caught on camera. The interaction happened with Moran's phone in one hand, and her 18-month-old son in her other arm.

In the video, Moran is heard explaining she could speak Spanish despite direction from the employee. At one point, the worker asked for proof of Moran's U.S. citizenship.

The employee continued, "You can do whatever you want because you're not a United States citizen of the United States."

Moran replied, "I was born here."

The employee is insistent Moran provide proof, "Then prove it to me, mother--!"

On Monday, Moran spoke with KGO with her sister, mother and friend nearby.

Krystina Zamora, a friend of Moran's said, "Just because you're having a bad day doesn't give you a right to do this to people, especially at work. You're at work!"

Zamora explained she hopes more people are encouraged to speak up in the face of injustice.

"I was born here, raised here, and I never thought in a million years it was going to happen to me," Moran said. "I hear stories, I see videos but I never thought it was going to happen to me."

A manager at the gas station told KGO the employee was fired the day of the confrontation. The manager added, the woman was employed for two or three months before the incident.

The manager would not comment on the incident, instead pointing ABC7 News to a company called Vintners Distributors. We have reached out for comment. This web article will reflect any statement made by the company.

Moran contacted San Jose Police. The department said the police report is still being processed by the department, but have confirmed Moran reported the disturbance as a possible hate crime.