McDonald’s drive-through window speakers

When driving through the hamburger chain’s order line, Karen Tumeh, who is hearing-impaired, doesn’t like to use the order box, which she says makes her hearing aid screech. Her lawsuit apparently construes the Americans with Disabilities Act as entitling her instead to place her order upon arriving at the pickup window and wait there until it is ready, even if other customers are lined up behind her. Employees at a Lincoln, Neb. outlet of the hamburger chain allegedly told her that if she couldn’t or wouldn’t use the order box she should come inside and order from the counter rather than hold up other patrons in the car line. (Clarence Mabin, “Hearing-impaired woman sues McDonald’s”, Jul. 15; AP/Omaha World Herald, Jul. 16).


  • Pull ahead, and Dave will bring out your food when it’s done. Next.

  • While I agree it is selfish to hold up a line of cars by disrupting the normal ordering procedure (especially when the simple alternative of walking inside is available), I have observed some McDonald’s restaurants that mention the availability of menus at the drive up window, which I assume is meant to accommodate the hearing impaired. Franchises differ, I grant, but can’t a consistent policy be decreed from McD’s headquarters?

  • Perhaps given the generally crappy speakers systems in use, she is no more impaired than the rest of us.
    Rather than taking her protest out on other hapless McD customers who bear no responsibility for her deafness or her argument with McD by holding up the line, she should find a way to engage McD that increases public support. The disabled, by alienating the general public, do themselves and their cause no service.

  • I’m deaf in my left ear, so I usually can’t hear and communicate well with those speakers from the driver’s side. So I go inside. No big deal.

    If you’re hearing impaired, crowded bars aren’t appealing either, because the background noise makes it very hard to hear someone you’re trying to talk to. So I avoid crowded bars. Would this lady think she has a right to make everyone else in the bar whisper? The sense of entitlement she displays is hard to understand.

  • James said in an interview Tuesday that the Pine Lake restaurant is the only fast-food outlet that has refused her service. James said other McDonald’s outlets and other local fast-food chains have allowed Tumeh to order at the window.

    So use the other restaurants and don’t waste the court’s time. Next.

    I have no sympathy for this individual. She is perfectly able to go into the restaurant to order, but she refuses to do so. Her attitude appears to be that the rest of the people should have to wait longer for their order because she is deaf. Reasonable accommodations should not mean that she gets to inconvenience everyone else. It is not society’s fault that she is deaf. Unfortunately the ADA has given her a club and she is going to use it to beat the rest of us over the head in order to get even with society for her handicap.

  • The McD’s I frequent has a policy about holding up the line. If your order is taking too long they ask you to park and someone will bring out your order. Seems there’s always someone who wants to order lunch for the entire office in the drive-thru.

    Ironically, McD’s was one of the first drive-ups, if not THE first, to cut costs by eliminating the car-hop. They are now being brought back because of the thoughtless and inconsiderate few.

  • Would it be a violation of her “rights” if the McDs refused service for someone who wants to inconvenience the rest of us?

    OTOH Why don’t they just ask her to pull up and wait for the order.

    I suspect that she doesn’t want to move or the McDs doesn’t want the extra work every time she comes.

    As others have stated, she should just go in, but we can’t inconvenience her!

  • Customers such as Ms. Tumeh are what cause restaurant owners to have nightmares…they use the ADA as a way to have carte blanche for the way they WISH to be treated, not for anything they actually NEED. She is perfectly capable of parking her car and going inside the restaurant to order like the rest of us. She has options.

    When will people realize that the entire world cannot be made handicap-friendly? I manage an architectural office and ridiculous ADA requirements are the bane of our business. Reasonable accommodations aren’t a problem, but we’ve had clients forced to spend $50,000+ on unnecessary upgrades to their tiny businesses because an ADA shill targeted them for money. It’s quite a common practice here in the San Francisco Bay Area, aka Liberal Central.

  • I don’t understand the problem. We’re talking mere seconds between the time you order at the box, then pull up to the window and pay. Pulling up and ordering at the window is not going to be adding that much time – I’ve seen people add as much time counting out change. But insisting on waiting at the window until the order is ready – that’s a different story, and has much more to do with the prep time and meal availability than disabilities. I’ve been asked to pull over and wait if I’ve ordered something that they’re not stocked up on, and they bring it out to the car. So what are we really talking about here? Sounds like it’s really more about the policy and less about the customer. We’re talking seconds here. Not 10-20 minutes. Seconds. Lighten up.

  • “Franchises differ, I grant, but can’t a consistent policy be decreed from McD’s headquarters?”

    Why should corporate stifle innovation this way? Are we to assume that not only does one solution fit all but also this one solution is optimal?

  • We’re talking seconds here. Not 10-20 minutes. Seconds. Lighten up.

    Are these the same seconds that the woman would use to park her car and walk into the store to place and get her order?

    Is the position you want to maintain that the woman has the right to hold up other people for the sake of them “being considerate” to her, and at the same time allow her to be inconsiderate to others?

    Are you really saying that her time is more valuable and important than the time of the other people in line behind her?

    “Lighten up” indeed.

  • Hey Ro,

    If this were an empty drive thru (or very few cars in the line), I could say you’re right. But, what about busy times where the food is quite literally waiting for you as you pull up to the last window?
    I think that that would add more than just “seconds”.

    OTOH, why should we all have to add seconds for every little thing. Many times policies are decided based on the fastest service. After all, that’s why we even have drive thrus. Mere seconds can add up to minutes if enough disabled get their “accomodations”.

    People like this use the ADA like a club to get service that doesn’t work for the business model in use. When the companies go out of business or change the way things are done for the worse, we all lose.

  • I can not believe you folks. If you can drive up to the window and get a picture menu because you are illiterate, and order there, she should be able to drive up and order due to her disability, which is physical.