A Costa Coffee barista in London refused to serve a customer who wanted to buy a sandwich and drink for a homeless man.
The incident took place at Waterloo Station, London, when Adrian Pinsent attempted to buy food for a homeless man he met outside. He took the man with him inside the coffee shop and asked him to select food.
However, the barista refused to assist him as he said it was against the policy of the coffeehouse, which is the second largest coffeehouse chain worldwide, to serve him food.
The entire incident was captured on camera by Pinsent where the barista can be heard claiming that they would be “prosecuted.”
In the video, the barista stated, “I'm really sorry sir. I'm really, really sorry. If we do that we will get prosecuted. It’s not our policy, it’s from the security of the station and the police.”
Pinsent called the incident a “disgrace” and added that the response to a simple act of kindness was unbelievable.
"It was an utter disgrace. I asked (the homeless man) to pick what he wanted, a sarnie and a Pepsi, and when I tried to pay for it, they refused. This argument went on for some time before I filmed the video. I was amazed. As a cameraman and journalist myself, I know that the idea of Costa being prosecuted by either the police or station security as the barista says is utterly wrong,” said Pinsent.
Following the incident, Network Rail, which manages Waterloo station, and British Transport Police, said “We do not have a policy against passengers buying food in our stations and giving the food to anyone who is homeless. We will be asking our retailers to remind their staff of this, so we can avoid any incidents such as this in the future."
Costa also released a statement that read, “We do not have a policy that restricts customers purchasing food for anyone who is homeless. We believe the store was given misinformation, which has now been corrected."
Banner, Spotlight: Reuters, Danish Siddiqui