A call for a boycott of a Tim Horton's outlet in Laval is making the rounds of the Internet because of an incident with linguistic overtones that took place there earlier this month — and there are several versions of what took place in the early evening hours of Saturday, March 1 at the donut shop at 3665 Autoroute 440.
It seems a customer was placing and order in English, and the counter person couldn't or wouldn't serve him in English. Another employee tried to assist her colleague, but fared little better.
A scuffle then ensued between the customer and two other French-speaking customers he got into an altercation with, with the customer claiming to have been beaten with a nightstick.
No one was seriously hurt, but police and an ambulance were called. Police say they found the customer there when they arrived, but he refused to press charges against the nightstick-wielding man.
A report was written, but the case was closed.
The manager of the Tim Horton's, who calls himself Peter, says the customer was the one who was being abusive -- toward the clerks, toward the other customers, and in the end, toward him. At one point during their exchange, Peter says he was told to "go back to Lebanon."
Peter speaks English with an accent, but is not Lebanese.
It wasn't a serious incident in the end, but the call for a boycott of the Tim Horton's outlet on Facebook has been shared more than 5,500 times in less than 24 hours, accompanied by an often vulgar and confrontational comments thread.
"He's going to have a legal problem with Tim Horton's," Peter says.
A representative from Tim Horton's says they're taking the incident seriously. "In Quebec we endeavor to serve our guests in their preferred official language whenever possible, as it is important to us to treat each of our guests with dignity and respect," a statement reads.