A Muslim woman from St. Paul Minnesota has filed discrimination charges this week against a Starbucks barista who wrote her name as “Isis” on her coffee cup.
Donning a hijab and a face mask, the 19-year-old had ordered a drink with a friend at the Starbucks located inside the St. Paul Midway Target store along University Ave. According to CNN reports, the woman said the barista was already scribbling something on the cup before she even said her name. She also claims to have repeated her name slowly and multiple times after.
As a standard procedure of the coffee chain, the barista asks for the customer’s name and writes it on the cup to be used for their order. However, after being handed her beverage – the woman was shocked to find it had “Isis” written on it, which is the common acronym used by an Islamic state terrorist group.
For safety and reference purposes of the “misspelling,” the woman has disclosed only her first name which is Aishah.
Aishah recalls: “When I first received the drink I was in shock that in this day and age something like this could be written. I felt humiliated, I felt enraged, I felt belittled.”
She then proceeded to challenge the barista after receiving her order. The barista firmly stood on the claim of not hearing her name correctly.
During her interview with CNN, Aishah said “There is absolutely no way the barista could have heard it as ISIS. Aishah is not an unknown name, and I repeated it multiple times.”
After raising her issue with management, the supervisor dismissed her grievance while backing up the erring employee and told her, “Mistakes happen. What’s the issue? People get their names wrong all the time.”
Aisha was then sent off from the counter with a new drink and a $25 gift card and escorted out of the store by security.
The Minnesota Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIRN-MN) held a press conference last Monday where Aishah spoke of her experience. She is now calling for both the 16-year-old barista and the supervisor to be fired from their jobs as well as more rigid vetting and training for all current and future employees.
Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR-MN says their group will likely hold protests outside of the said Target store if no action is taken to rectify this incident. He has since filed a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.
In a released statement from Target, the company reiterates: ” We are taking appropriate actions with the team member, including additional training, to ensure this does not occur again. We are very sorry for this guest’s experience at our store and immediately apologised to her when she made our store leaders aware of the situation. We have investigated the matter and believe that it was not a deliberate act but an unfortunate mistake that could have been avoided with a simple clarification.”
Meanwhile, Starbucks has declined to comment but has confirmed that the employees involved in this incident were employed by Target and not by Starbucks.