REDMOND, Wash. — UPDATE: 7-Eleven sent a new statement from its corporate office in Dallas. It reads:
"It's clear that a misunderstanding occurred at a franchised 7-Eleven store. We understand that a customer presented a military ID as a form of identification when buying age-restricted products, and the Franchisee’s store associate could not clearly read the birth date. In this instance, the store associate, by law, was required to ask to see a second form of ID with a birthdate. After the customer's age was verified, the transaction was completed. Serving members of the military, being named a top military-friendly company and employing military veterans are great honors for 7-Eleven.”
The owner of the Redmond West Lake Sammamish Parkway 7-Eleven sent this response on Thursday, calling the incident a misunderstanding:
“We sincerely apologize for a misunderstanding that occurred at one of our stores. A customer presented a military ID as a form of identification and the store associate could not clearly read the birth date. In this instance, the store associate, by law, asked to see a second form of ID. After the customers age was verified the transaction was complete.”
Collin Brown told KIRO-TV, the clerk never stated that she could not read the date of birth on Brown’s military ID card.
Representatives from 7-Eleven corporation told KIRO-TV they planned to personally contact Collin Brown.
A local soldier, whose story sparked a firestorm of nationwide anger on social media, says a Redmond convenience store clerk denied him service, after he showed his military ID.
Collin Brown –- who is a reservist in the Army – was purchasing cigarettes for his fiancé, and a Slurpee last Wednesday, at the 7-Eleven on West Lake Sammamish Parkway. Brown put his U.S. military ID on the counter, when the cashier asked for his proof of age. The ID clearly has his date of birth on the back and serves as legal ID.
"She said, 'You're in the military?' I said, 'Yes,'" Brown said. "She said, 'I can't serve you.'" Honestly, I was in shock. I asked, 'Are you serious?' "She looked at me like she was offended," he said.
Brown says he asked the clerk why there was a problem as he pulled out his driver's license to back up his military ID.
“I asked for her manager’s information and at that point I was able to make the purchase,” Brown said.
Brown only told his fiancé, a retired Army veteran with nearly 10 years of service, but his friends and relatives posted the incident on Facebook. In days, more than 12,000 people spread it to military posts around the country, and many reacted to it.
“I think it's understandable that people would be upset about it,” Brown said. “I think anyone in this position would be upset."
KIRO 7 reached out to 7-Eleven's corporate offices in Dallas and a representative responded, saying the report we heard was “distorted.” The franchise is owned locally. KIRO 7 left messages for the owner, who did not respond.
7-Eleven has always promoted military, giving away Slurpees and even store franchises to service members.
After Brown’s friends complained online to 7-Eleven, they did write this:
"A customer presented a military ID as a form of identification and the store associate could not clearly read the birth date. In this instance, the store associate, by law, asked to see a second form of ID."
Brown says that's not what happened, and he wants 7-Eleven to investigate further by looking at the surveillance recording, and possibly retraining employees.
“From moment one, the only thing I was hoping to do by coming forward with this is to get the issue addressed with the employee,” He said. “If you don't know something is wrong, you can't fix it."