A Filipino-American Air Force veteran accused a California Starbucks barista of racism for allegedly changing his name on the order based on his appearance.
Before dropping his 12-year-old daughter, Milan, to school last week, Johncarl Festejo and his daughter stopped at the outlet in Vacaville and ordered a hot chocolate, chocolate frappuccino and banana nut bread.
“My name is John,” Festejo said when the coffee shop employee asked for his name. His full name was also mentioned in the application he used to pay. However, when his order was ready, the barista called out a different name.
“A few minutes later, I was just waiting in that area, and next thing I know, I hear, ‘Is there a Chang here? Is there a Chang? We got a hot cocoa.’ I figured, no big deal. It was probably someone else,” he said, KCRA reported. “Then, I hear again, ‘Banana nut bread for Chang.’ I’m like, OK, probably the same order. Then, followed by that was the chocolate frap.”
Festejo then approached the counter and confronted the employee about the name change.
“I said, ‘Ma’am, is this my order? Because my name is not Chang.’ She responded that could it have been my name on the app. So, I double checked my Starbucks app. It says my name. I just asked, ‘Is this some kind of joke? For real? Like, come on now,’” he said.
He then turned to the employee who took his order. “I saw her just slightly snicker,” he said.
Though frustrated, Festejo decided not to create a scene then as his daughter was getting late for school and the coffee shop was busy.
“I had to take my daughter to school, and my daughter had to pull me away before I go off,” he said, CBS Local reported.
After dropping his daughter off at school, he contacted the Starbucks corporate office to report the incident. He received an apology from the corporate and also a call from a district manager.
“At Starbucks, we take great pride in providing a warm and welcoming environment for everyone who enters our stores and expect our partners to uphold our values and follow through on our commitment. We have a zero-tolerance stance on discrimination of any kind, and the experience in question was not reflective of our mission and values. We have reached out to the customer and shared our deep regret for their experience, are conducting an investigation into the matter and will take the appropriate actions,” a spokesperson for Starbucks said.
“We didn’t expect this, especially this day in age. Especially what just occurred recently in Starbucks, I didn’t expect this would happen,” Festejo said, referring to Starbucks closing several stores in May for racial bias education training following an incident with two black men in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“The word Chang is a slur describing an Asian man that’s a gangster,” he said. “As for my daughter, she did ask this question to me, she asked me, ‘Daddy, is Starbucks racist to Asians?’”
The employee was not assigned any shift as Starbucks launched an investigation.