A Purdue University student visited a CVS Pharmacy location near his dorm in West Lafayette, Indiana last month when—upon attempting to purchase Mucinex—his Puerto Rican driver's license was questioned by an employee.
Even after explaining that Puerto Ricans are American citizens and presenting his passport, both the employee in question and a manager "refused to sell him the medicine," per a Tuesday-published report on the Oct. 25 incident from the New York Times.
"Whatever triggered her to discriminate against my son embodies exactly what is wrong in the United States of America today," Arlene Payano Burgo, mother of Purdue junior José A. Guzmán-Payano, wrote in a Facebook post detailing the incident.
A formal complaint was filed against CVS on the same day as the incident, which also saw the student being asked to display a visa and confronted about his immigration status.
CVS later issued a statement, noting the incident was under investigation and that Puerto Rican IDs (of course) qualify as a valid form of identification.
"We are committed to ensuring that every customer receives courteous, outstanding service in our stores, and we apologize to the customer for his recent experience," CVS spokesperson Amy Thibault said in a statement to the Lafayette Journal & Courier. "We are fully investigating this matter to learn more about what occurred. While our employees must adhere to laws and regulation requiring identification for the purchase of over-the-counter medication, our expectation is that all customers be treated in a professional manner."
Fittingly, the incident has inspired widespread outrage and a demand for greater attempts at preventing this type of treatment in the future: