A Black San Francisco barber was allegedly mistreated by being told to wait outside a Bay Area Starbucks chain until his order finished as other customers were allowed to remain inside the store.

The Black man, Bryce Ward, ordered at the Starbucks at the Capitol Square Mall in San Jose on the morning of March 15. Later, an employee approached him and told him he had to go outside to wait for his order, pointing at the door.

Alleged Customer Mistreatment

The store’s manager allegedly told Ward that he was sent outside to wait for his order to follow the county’s COVID-19 restrictions. “At that moment, man, it’s embarrassing. It’s irritating. Humiliating. Why me?” Ward said.

After two other customers left, the black man stayed inside the store to wait for his order. He later noticed that other, non-Black customers were allowed to go inside the store despite the alleged capacity limit. He said one woman entered the store as the manager approached him and yelled for him to leave the establishment instead of the woman.

A Starbucks representative replied by saying the store conducted an internal investigation that found Ward was not the only one told to wait outside for their orders. The spokesperson added the branch was a pick-up-only site and implemented strict capacity limits in compliance with state regulations.

“Due to COVID imposed capacity constraints, Mr. Ward was asked to wait outside the store for his order, just as we were asking all customers waiting for their to-go orders. Starbucks has no tolerance for discrimination of any kind in our stores, and we never want a customer to feel discriminated against,” the representative said.

“At this point, I’m like, ‘Man, for what?’ Why are you coming at me? Why do I gotta go outside? You walked right past this lady,” Ward said. The Black man later posted an Instagram clip of him asking the store for a refund.

“I’m not saying it was a racial issue. I just so happened to be the only Black person in the store. Now, this is Starbucks. You guys are supposed to take pride in how you treat your customers, regardless of their look or their persona. I’m tired of these big companies doing little s**t and getting away with it,” he said.