The madness just never stops. On June 20, a Wawa employee in Williamstown, New Jersey, reportedly thought a Black woman was a shoplifter because of her hair. The woman, identified as Bernardine Rochelle, is demanding an apology from the convenience store.
Courier Post reports that Rochelle’s attorney, Karin Coger, explained, “The (Wawa) associate told Rochelle that she remembered Rochelle’s big afro from a prior occasion when she was stealing.” She claims the employee, who was a young white woman, “snatched the trail mix out of Rochelle’s right hand.” Coger continued, “Rochelle was frightened as the Wawa associate attempted to snatch the coffee out of her hand, as well.”
According to Coger, the worker screamed at Rochelle, “I put you out last week and you’re back here again stealing … Get out!”
Rochelle is a mother, grandmother and a 17-year state employee and educator. She said she was “embarrassed, surprised and insulted” by the incident.
Wawa has apologized via spokeswoman Lori Bruce, saying, “We are very sorry for the experience Ms. Rochelle had. Our goal is always to provide a welcoming, positive experience for our customers. We take every opportunity to learn from every situation.”
However, Rochelle’s attorney is asking for a formal apology, saying, “Rochelle did not receive a verbal or written apology and there was no indication that management investigated the incident.” However, “several days after the incident, Rochelle received a letter and a $100 gift card from Wawa.”
Coger added, “That letter did not contain an apology or address the actual incident.”
No word on if Bernardine Rochelle will file a lawsuit.