Costa Coffee has refused to apologise after two of its employees were filmed telling a Good Samaritan he couldn’t purchase food for a homeless person.
Employees in the chain’s Waterloo branch refused to let filmmaker Adrian Pinsent buy a sandwich when it became apparent the intended recipient was destitute.
Pinsent tweeted video, above, of his interaction with staff at the busy London station, showing two Costa employees apparently refusing to serve him as a result of his goodwill gesture.
“I’m really sorry sir, we cannot, if we do that, after we will get prosecuted,” one of the employees says in the video.
Costa refused to apologise for Monday evening’s incident, but said the company does not have a policy restricting such food purchases.
In the video, Pinsent is heard asking: “I, as a legitimate customer, want to buy some food for a homeless person... is that Costa Coffee policy that I cannot buy food for a homeless person from this shop?”
“It is not our policy, it is from the security of the station,” the employee responds.
Pinsent told HuffPost UK on Tuesday that he believes the employees thought strict rules were in place.
“I believed the barista wasn’t lying to me, so am curious to know where he got the idea that they would be prosecuted from. Head office, the Transport Police, Waterloo Station themselves?” he said.
“It seemed to me that he honestly thought they would be prosecuted.”
London Waterloo tweeted in response on Tuesday to say “it does not have any such policy”, despite the claims in the video.
And Costa Coffee said in a statement sent to HuffPost UK: “We can confirm 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.”
When asked if they would issue an apology the spokeperson said: “We’re not apologising as such as our barista thought he was communicating the right information.
“Obviously for any perceived bad service we would apologise but we do not have all the information.”
HuffPost UK asked St Mungo’s, a homeless charity which operates across London, how people can help those in need.
If you are worried about someone sleeping rough please contact StreetLink. They will be able to connect this person to local support and services. You can make a referral via Street Link or by calling 0300 500 0914.
Donate to charities like St Mungo’s:
St Mungo’s outreach teams go out night after night to help get people off the streets. You can support our work by donating here.
Campaign for change:
Contact your MP to ask how they will help end rough sleeping here.
Give your time:
You could share your time or skills making a difference to the people we work with here.