VACAVILLE (CBS13) — A local Air Force veteran went into Starbucks recently for hot chocolate with his daughter and left insulted after he said the barista changed the name on his order based on his appearance.
Johncarl Festejo stopped in the Vacaville Starbucks on Elmira Rd, Monday with his 12-year-old daughter, Milan, before dropping her off at school. He ordered a hot chocolate, a banana bread, and mocha frappuccino.
He then gave the barista his name, even shortening it to John to make it easier. But after waiting for his order, “John” was not the name a barista yelled out when it was ready. Instead, they shouted “Chang.” Not only is it not his name, but Johncarl found it offensive.
“The word Chang is a slur describing an Asian man that’s a gangster,” he said.
Festejo is a recently retired Air Force veteran. His legal name, Johncarl, he says was clearly written on the app he used to pay for the order, so next, he questioned the manager.
“Is this some kind of sick joke? I mean really, my name isn’t Chang,” he said.
The manager, he says then questioned the barista who took the order.
“She just shrugged and slightly snickered, like she was holding her composure,” Festejo said.
Puzzled and angry he left the Starbucks.
“I had to take my daughter to school, and my daughter had to pull me away before I go off,” he said.
Festejo later contacted the Starbucks corporate office and has since received several apologies from upper management. Starbucks issued a statement reading:
“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.”
Until those actions are taken, Festejo is left answering questions of his own.
“As for my daughter, she did ask this question to me, she asked me, ‘Daddy, is Starbucks racist to Asians?’” he said.
Festejo says he doesn’t blame Starbucks as a company and doesn’t want the barista fired. He wants her reprimanded and trained. The employee has been placed on leave pending the outcome of the Starbucks investigation.