Starbucks has apologised after a homeless man eating a sandwich was asked to leave by staff. The incident, which was filmed, shows security asking him to leave the seated area. The homeless man had been bought the food - a sandwich and a cake worth £8.45 - by another customer who said the man looked like he was hungry.
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A video has captured the moment a homeless man was asked to leave a branch of Starbucks after a member of the public bought him some food.
Sajid Kahloon, a business owner in Southend-on Sea, Essex, bought the homeless man a meal worth £8.45 after he spotted the man looking hungry and “searching for food”.
Mr Kahloon confronted staff after they asked the homeless man to leave the premises - despite eating a sandwich and chocolate cake that had been paid for in-store.
Starbucks said in an official statement: “We want every customer to have a positive experience, and we apologise that we did not meet that expectation in this instance. The interaction on video is not indicative of the environment we strive to create.”
The video footage shows a Starbucks employee and security guard telling the homeless man he could not eat in the seating area outside the coffee shop.
In the footage, Mr Kahloon can be heard speaking to staff who tell him the homeless man needs to leave due to “a policy of the company”.
Mr Kahloon tells staff: “I paid for that, if the food is being bought and he is eating that food.
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“I spent like £8, and he is eating the food. Why can't he have a seat, is he not human?”
After the employees try to move the man on, the entrepreneur hits back, saying: “Now he is obviously eating the food, you can't just ask him to leave.
“Let him eat the food and he can leave, whats the problem? He's eating his lunch, then let him eat the food.”
Mr Kahloon - who is the owner of Run Rooster, a campaign to feed homeless people around the world by donating money with each meal he sells - told Yahoo News UK: "I was sitting inside the Starbucks branch eating and drinking coffee.
“This poor lad, I’ve never seen him before, the guy was looking for food leftover on the table. And then one table had some stuff on it - he sat on the table and drink the leftover tea.
"No-one should be in that situation - you have to compromise with your dignity.
"As a human, I put my hand on his shoulder and asked him if he wanted to eat something."
"He said “no, I have a tea”. But he asked me to buy him some food - for me this means that with such a basic need, we are all equal."
“My problem is not that they asked him to leave - people always sit on the chairs and use the table without buying things.
“But it’s about treating him with respect. When I came to England I noticed we all live peacefully, despite race, colour etc. But similarly I feel diversity is also about living with people less fortunate than yourself.
"It's not only race that matters, it’s also who is fortunate and less fortunate.
"I just wanted them to tell him, “finish your food and go”. They didn’t have to compromise his dignity. That's what caused me pain to see."
Mr Kahloon’s Run Rooster charity is donating a paid-for meal for a hungry child with each meal sold in one his businesses.
Starbucks 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.”