Starbucks labels Muslim customer's drinks 'ISIS' instead of his name Aziz: 'I was shocked, and then angry'
Niquel Johnson, 40, said that he was wearing a traditional Middle Eastern tunic when he ordered three drinks at a Starbucks last week
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: A Muslim man is considering filing a lawsuit against Starbucks after all the drinks he ordered from the barista came labeled "ISIS," which is also the short form for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Niquel Johnson, 40, told NBC News that he was wearing a traditional Middle Eastern tunic when he ordered three drinks last week—one for himself and the others for two friends, who were sitting at a nearby bookstore. When the employee asked what name to put on the drinks, he provided them with his Islamic name, Aziz, as he had done in the same store “countless” times before.
"Abdul Aziz is the name I normally go by; it means servant of the Almighty," said Johnson. "But I shortened it for them. 'Aziz' alone means 'mighty'."
It was not until 20 minutes after he had picked up the drinks and already gone back to the bookstore that Johnson realized what was written on all the cups: "ISIS"
"I was shocked at first, and then angry because I felt as though we were discriminated against," Johnson said.
However, the popular coffee chain, which has had a bad reputation when it comes to spelling customer's names correctly, said that the incident was the result of an honest mistake and not a deliberate attempt at discrimination.
“After investigating, we don’t believe this was a case of discrimination or profiling," Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges said. "The customer approached and provided the name Aziz. The barista mistakenly spelled it incorrectly. We have connected with Mr. Johnson and apologized for this regrettable mistake.”
Apart from his name being spelled out as "ISIS" on the cups, Johnson said that two other unusual things happened. Firstly, when his order was ready, the staffer called it out by the type of drink he had ordered and not his name.
Another bizarre thing that happened was that four days after the story hit social media and a reporter tweeted about it, Johnson said that Starbucks called him to inform that the company had talked to his niece named Alora to sort out the situation—a person Johnson says does not exist, Washington Post reported.
When Johnson confronted Starbucks representative Brian Dragone over the matter, he said: “I have no explanation for that. We’re going to have to figure that out on our end who that was who we spoke to."