An employee who initially denied a Belleville man and his girlfriend a money order at a St. Louis Schnucks was fired, the company's top executive said in a statement Tuesday.
"I deeply apologize to the customers and am incredibly disappointed in the poor judgment that was used in handling this incident," CEO Todd Schnuck said in a statement.
Kellen Hill from Belleville said he tried to use a debit card at the South County grocery store to get a $1,100 money order to pay rent on Monday, according to a Facebook post he wrote. After seeing Hill's Florida-issued driver's license, however, an employee declined to give him the money order, citing concerns about fraud.
Hill shared videos of the event and a post on his Facebook on Monday. He claimed in the post that the employee had racially profiled him and was not giving him the money order because he is black.
According to Hill's post, he called his girlfriend at work, who came to the store with cash at the request of the store employee.
The employee would still not fulfill the money order, however, according to Hill and Schnucks' Facebook posts.
"Later in the day, the customer complied with the (employee's) request, when his (girlfriend) returned to the store with cash," Schnuck said in his statement. "The money order should have been sold to her at that point. It was not."
Videos show Hill and his girlfriend arguing with the Schnucks employee inside and outside the store for at least five minutes.
In the video, Hill tells the employee he has never been denied a money order before and asks the employee if he is being denied a money order because of a "new policy that just happened."
The employee said yes, the policy was put into place recently. Hill asks when the policy was announced, and the employee said it was announced within the last couple weeks. Hill asks the employee for an exact date.
"I don't have to tell you any of this stuff," the employee says in Hill's video.
"I'm trying to help you keep your job because racial profiling is not good, bro," Hill says in the video.
"We're not racial profiling," the employee replies.
Eventually, the employee gave the couple the money order.
"It’s really sad that you can’t be black and buy a money order without being accused of fraud," Hill said in his Facebook post. "No one went to jail or got killed but just another case of racial discrimination in America. Please like and Share this video until it makes it to the corporate office. I want him FIRED IMMEDIATELY."
Schnucks posted an apology on the company's Facebook page Tuesday.
"Although the teammate was focused on the recent increase in fraud, once the customer produced cash for the transaction, the money order should have been sold without further issue," the post read. "I want our customers to feel welcomed and respected in our stores and I sincerely apologize for how our customers were treated in this instance."