Starbucks apologises for telling homeless man to leave after customer buys him meal

Coffee chain insists interaction is 'not indicative' of company's ethos

Conrad Duncan
Friday 11 October 2019 13:49
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Homeless man told to leave Starbucks after customer buys him food

Starbucks has apologised after one of its baristas told a homeless man to leave one of its shops, even though another customer had bought him some food.

Sajid Kahhllon said he spotted the man searching for leftovers on the tables outside a branch in Southend, Essex.

“It was painful to see that someone had to search for food like that,” he said. “I asked him if he was hungry and if he would like me to buy him some food? He replied yes in a very weak voice.”

After Mr Kahhllon bought the man a sandwich and a slice of cake, a staff member came over and asked the homeless man to leave.

In a video of the incident, Mr Kahhllon can be heard confronting the staff member and asking why the man has been told to leave.

“He is eating his food, you can’t just ask him to leave. Let him finish the food and then he can leave,” he said.

After another person agreed with the customer, the staff member appeared to accept that the man could stay.

“I understand the point of view of Starbucks, but I still feel this type of situation needed to be dealt with more respect and empathy,” said Mr Kahhllon, who runs a food delivery service called Run Rooster that donates free meals to charity. "We are all human and we all get hungry.”

A spokesperson for Starbucks said the interaction in the video was "not indicative" of the company's ethos and it was looking into the circumstances around the incident.

The company would take "appropriate action" over the incident, they said.

"We want every customer to have a positive experience, and we apologise that we did not meet that expectation in this instance," they said.

"The interaction on video is not indicative of the environment we strive to create," they added. "We are looking into the circumstances surrounding this customer’s experience and will take appropriate action to ensure that our stores remain welcoming places for everyone."

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