Thursday, January 24, 2008

Steak 'N Shake on the News

Here's ABC New's coverage:

ABC News

It is not captioned, but the story is below the video.

Fox News is covering this at nine and ten p.m. tonight and tomorrow morning.


Sandra said...

First of all, Karen: you look beautiful on t.v.! I still cannot believe this happened, but I am glad it is getting attention. I also made mention of this incident on my blog. You deserve an apology!

Tales from the CI Gal said...

Way to go!!!! I'm proud of you.

mishkazena said...

Way to go, Karen! He messed with the wrong woman! :)

Abbie said...

Woo hoo! You go girl! :)

Anonymous said...

Yes! Keep it up with a good cause. So many ppl like them out there and more reason to hire more effecient managers!

Deaf friends said...

You should get apology. This kind of thinkg happens a lot to Deaf people just because we cannot hear.

Anonymous said...

oops I meant efficient managers!

Nita said...

I saw the video. You are so pretty!!!! Still photos did not do justice :)

Btw, will you sneak by next week to see if that $#&% manager is still working there?

Anonymous said...

It's terrible enough you have to go through this but I couldn't help but chuckle at ABC for not captioning. Yes, I know it was ABC online but no excuses, really. This is two steps forward and one step backwards.


Rini said...

Way to go, deafmom! =D Now I'm sure something will be done about this sort of thing in the future--thanks for speaking up.

Anonymous said...

I want to see the video of this incident. They have one at the drive-thru and I want to see it before Steak n shake deletes it. I'm sure it's very powerful

Barb DiGi said...

Good for you! (patting on your shoulders). It is a right thing to do by sharing to the media to give the message to the franchise fast food restaurants that the treatment is unacceptable. I believe it will help prevent from this unfortunate incident to happen again for a long time.

It is disturbing to see this happening again and again even after the lawsuit Theresa Theriot made against Burger King more than a decade ago. When will they ever learn?

Jim said...

Wonderful. I hope this will educate the public and other resturaunts who have "drive-thru" services to learn from this.

This is one of example of "disabiliies movement history" that you have made. People with disabilties in the past have spoken up as you did.

I am proud of you and admire your courage.

Your fellow deaf blogger.


Li-Li's Mom said...

Outrageous! You were GREAT on that news clip, direct, strong, but still gracious. That should make them (and others who haven't addressed accommodation issues with training and awareness programs) look very carefully at their oafish and illegal behavior.

Free shakes for life!!!

Deb Ann said...


Way to go!!!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

In addition to apology, I would expect that there would be some changes in employee training and in services for people who cannot use the speaker order box.

Mandy said...

What an idiot that guy was! I'm so glad you are addressing this with them! So many people just let it go and walk away! I am forwarding your blog address to my co-worker who teaches a self-contained classroom of deaf children who are inclusioned into regular classrooms. She will be impressed by your courage!

Karen said...

Thank you all for the kind comments and wonderful support. I will be meeting with the company and addressing the accessiblity concerns and employee attitudes. Hopefully this will result in a good change for Steak 'n Shake.

Anonymous said...

My arms are patting onto your shoulders.

I can see you and your'e beautiful.

Keep us posted.

White Ghost

Debbie/Steve said...

You did a wonderful job and this accident should have not happened.
I've shared this News segment with my parents as they knew the Anchorman for quite some time and I've met him once. To bad it wasn't CC but I could hear you very well and you have a good voice.

Debbie/Steve said...

You did a wonderful job and this accident should have not happened.
I've shared this News segment with my parents as they knew the Anchorman for quite some time and I've met him once. To bad it wasn't CC but I could hear you very well and you have a good voice.

krj said...

Found you through Sandra's blog- thank you for sharing your story. You will not be lacking for support. Way to go though. And you deserve so much more than a mere apology. I'm sorry doesn't solve the problem.

kw said...

Way to go Karen!! You handled this so professionally and you looked great on TV too! :-)

Cathy said...

I am thrilled about the quick media attention to this fiasco!!!!!!

I am coming to visit my family next week and I will be sure to find a day to bring my Deaf/SIGNING family to this particular location and have a meal inside the restaurant then end it with ordering shakes via the drive thru without talking on the intercom- it's useless anyway due to my deaf (and proud) voice.


Judging the location online-- it seems to be right off Boughton/Weber??

p.s. wouldn't it be awesome to set a day and round up about 25-50 vehicles of deaf people ordering via drive thru with smiling faces?!?! hmmmmmmmm!

CaptainTux said...


I just read about your story on google news and then watched the news story. I am not deaf and I've not had many interactions with deaf people. But anyone with an ounce of common sense would understand your needs.

It sounds like Steak and Shake has issued a well balanced response to the situation and I hope they do right by you. I suspect that manager is facing a lot of wrath right now. Corporate entities do not like news vans in front of their stores for stories like this. ;)

I am glad to see that the Internet can be used to bring a story like this the attention it deserves. Sure makes a bigger impact than games and dirty pics.

Good on you for telling your story and good on everyone else who spread the word about this incident.

Thank you. I think I am going to share this with my daughter tomorrow.

PS The vanilla shake at White Castle on Briarcliff is surprisingly good!

Lisa Marie Mary said...

Thank you so much for posting the link to the news story, Karen! You totally rock for not backing down on this! You are an inspiration!

Jennifer said... are my hero, woman!! YOU GO GIRL!!!!
And you look gorgeous on TV...I am so proud of you!!!!
I'm linking to this, too...hopefully, tonight...THANK YOU for not only standing up for yourself, but for all of us, as well (hugs)

Paotie said...

*strums an imaginary guitar*

Of course we have our differences
You shouldnt be surprised
Its as natural as changes
In the seasons and the skies
Sometimes we grow together
Sometimes we drift apart
A wiser man than I might know
The seasons of the heart

John Denver RULES!

Good job on your advocacy! Thanks for being a GREAT role model!



LaRonda said...

Your story is what brings us all together, Karen. Deaf, HH, CI users, Oral Deaf, etc.... All of us deal with communication access challenges daily. The fact that you stood up and made your story known speaks loud and clear. You will see more of us standing up along with you as a result. This will bring unity in the area of equal access for all.

I left my own comment on the ABC news channel website.

Way to go!!

~ LaRonda

Confused Deafie said...

It looks like you were able to speak and understand the reporter through oral communication. So what was the exact problem with the manager? Were you pretending that you didn't understand the manager because you were looking for the lawsuit and thought that incident was your opportunity?

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

You are a strong advocate and gave one helluvan impressive interview...gosh that was powerful. I'm thinking free shakes for a year for a beautiful family of six could be an acceptable apology!:) On the serious side, you just educated a lot of people and increased the level of sensitivity a notch. Really incredible interview - your face said, "I am DEAF...Do NOT Mess with me or my kids, because I will kick some serious ass!" Whatta woman! Jodi

Anonymous said...

wow, you could quite possibly be one of the DUMBEST people on the planet - I eat at that steak and shake, am hard of hearing and found the general manager to be highly helpful, maybe if you weren't trying to stand on a political soapbox, you would see that, don't let your disability define you.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you're deaf, but if you cannot use the speaker, get out of your car and go inside. No this does not excuse the employees treatment of you, but come on - you know you cannot order at the speaker - GO INSIDE!!

Karen said...

Confused Deafie wrote: "It looks like you were able to speak and understand the reporter through oral communication. So what was the exact problem with the manager? Were you pretending that you didn't understand the manager because you were looking for the lawsuit and thought that incident was your opportunity?"

The problem was that the manager insisted that I had to order through the speaker phone. I can talk, I can lipread, but I can't understand anything SAID to me through the speaker. I have always used drive thrus by going up to the window and explaining that I'm deaf or that I cannot hear through the speaker and 99.9 percent of the time, the order is taken. Every once in a while I'll come across an employee who wants me to drive around again but most people "get it" after I explain and I always get my order. This manager wouldn't even give me the shakes because I wouldn't drive around again and give him the order through the speaker.

A Deaf Pundit said...

Karen, I was finally able to view the video. You look gorgeous and did a great job!

You have my kudos and I hope others follow your example. :)

Anonymous said...

I guess it shouldn't shock me that there are a few comments on your blog...calling you "Dumb" just proves that there is more education needed out there on EQUAL RIGHTS and accessibility for people with disabilities. Maybe if THOSE people were treated the way you were they wouldn't be so quick to post such ridiculous messages!!

Anonymous said...

WTG!!! I hope that gets their attention and this never happens again to you or any other person in that area that needs assistance.

Anonymous said...

I don't even know you, got the link through Jazzie and Tahlia's Mom's website, but I am so impressed with how you are handling this. You go girl!!!!! I am incensed for you. You deserve more than an apology. Corporate Headquarters should be at your door thanking you for bringing this to their attention with large bouquets of flowers.

Elizabeth said...

I'm sorry that it took this happening for Steak and Shake to realize that not every customer can use the drive-thru speaker. And for the rude commenters who asked why you didn't just go inside-drive-thrus are there for a reason. It's not always convenient to go inside. What if she was on crutches? What if her son was sick with a bad cold?

Whether or not you could have gone inside is beside the point. That manager was so inexcusably rude, you must have been shaking for hours afterwards, I would have been. What part of "I would not be able to HEAR you at the speaker" did he not understand? Grrr!

Anonymous said...

I am appalled to even hear of such a thing. I've been in the service industry for alsmost 10 yrs. and this has to be the worst thing. Maybe Mrs. Putz had to be the one that this has to happen to in order for something like this to come to light. We need more people like her who will stand up to these big corporations and make a difference. You should be proud of yourself! KUDOS TO YOU!!!!

Anonymous said...

This is an incredible powerful story. Inclusion Solutions, a Chicago company, has been working to solve this issue for five years now. Check out to see the Culver's locations that have installed our OrderAssist system. You can also go to to read articles that have been written about drivethru access for the deaf/hoh.

IamMine said...

Way to go!!!

I agree with the commentators above that you looked beautiful! :)

You handled this beautifully!

I posted on that site explaining similar experience here in MI but didn't take action like you did.

I wish I did but I was so stressed out during a period of hectic times for myself.


Thumbs up!!!! :)

Sange said...

It was great what you did. You presented your case beautifully!! I (the parent of a HOH son)am very proud of you for what you have done for yourself and the Deaf/HOH community. They will be much less likely to have to go thru what you have because you stuck to your guns.

Don't let those that are critical get you down! Keep it up girl and show everyone how its done!


Anonymous said...

yes she definitely deserves an apology, and she doesn't just need the one she got from
the corporate office, she needs one from the jerk that works at that store

Anonymous said...

yes she definitely deserves an apology, and she doesn't just need the one she got from
the corporate office, she needs one from the jerk that works at that store

Jen said...

I just have to say Kudos to you!! I am glad that you stuck up for you and the whole deaf community, and are bringing awareness to this. I do not have a hearing impairment, but my son does have a mild hearing loss. I can't believe some people are so insensitive. And to the ignorant people who are posting comments about you being "dumb", and wondering why you didn't just go inside? Well I agree with the other person who posted and said it wasn't convenient. That is what drive-thru's are for, and just because you have a hearing impairment, does not mean you shouldn't be able to use the modern conveniences that everyone else has the option to use. I would like to ask the person who posted that comment, if he or she uses the drive thru? (I noticed they left a comment anonymous) And if so, well what if you couldn't anymore? because of a disability you had? And how would that make YOU feel? And not to mention that it has nothing to do with politics!! It has to do with standing up for what is right! Some people really need to think about what they are saying before they say it!! Because when you say stuff like that, you sound like such an ignorant fool! Karen, I hope you get an apology, and know there are many people who support what you are doing, and KNOW that there are no negative motives behind it, other than to take a stand for what is RIGHT!! GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!!

Diana said...

Karen - good for you. We need to educate these folks to understand this is totally inappropriate and not to mention possible legal consequences because of their actions. It is clear that Steak n' Shake management lacks common courtesy for its customer. You deserve an apology. I can't believe in this day and age this has happened. What if this manager's child who has disability or deaf? How would she/he would like if this happened to their OWN child?

You took stand for doing what you believe it is the right thing to do. My hats off to you!

Diana from AZ =)

Val said...

Karen, You did the right thing girl. You looked great on camera as I saw the video from another blogger. I'm sooo behind on my blogging, and I'm sorry I missed this. But you know, I'm thinking, if this were my daughter, I'd hope she say "hey, wait a minute, this is not right!" at this point (age 4) she'd burst into tears and leave, but I'm so glad you didn't! I think you're wonderful and as a hearing person, that manager was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!
p.s. are there 2 Karen's? I think I've been getting you cofused w/Karen M? but you're "my girl", we've got your back on this one.