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Caught on camera: Man berates Eugene woman for speaking Spanish

Mendoza said the man asked her to sign a petition promising she will stop speaking Spanish in the United States.

Posted: Dec. 4, 2018 6:42 PM
Updated: Dec. 4, 2018 6:50 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- A Eugene woman is speaking out after she said a man told her to stop speaking Spanish while she was grocery shopping and caught some of the incident on camera.

Kelia Mendoza said she was shopping Monday afternoon at WinCo on Barger Drive when she said a guy approached her and stopped her from getting milk.

WATCH: Cell phone video of WinCo altercation 

"This guy kind of like blocked me from getting the soy milk, and he says, 'Were you speaking in Spanish on the phone?' and I said, 'Yeah, why?'"

Mendoza said the man asked her to sign a petition promising she will stop speaking Spanish in the United States.

She said she took out what she felt like was her only defense -- her cell phone.

"It makes me feel really really sad that people like this still exist," she said. "It's not my fault you know, about my background being the way it is. We're supposed to love each other regardless. We're a community."

Mendoza said while she and the man in the video were arguing, people ignored and walked past, except for one man who stopped to help.

Anthony Fischetti said he stepped in to help when he heard the man telling Mendoza to speak English.

"I just jumped in and told the guy to shut his mouth and she can speak whatever language she wants to speak," Fischetti said. "It didn't surprise me that this happened. I think it was just a matter of time in this social and political climate, and to see nobody else stand up for her was heartbreaking."

Mendoza was appreciative of Fischetti stepping in.

"We need more people like Anthony in this community to be honest because I was the only one defending myself, and in the video you could see a lot of people walking by staring but not actually doing anything, and Anthony, that's what he did," Mendoza said.

It didn't stop there.

Mendoza said the man began making fun of the 6-year-old boy she babysits who has a disability.

"He was making fun of him that he had no ears because the little boy doesn't have ears. It was just insulting him, and it made me pissed, and I defended that boy like he was my son."

Mendoza said eventually, the store manager escorted the man out of the store.

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