WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A Purdue University student is demanding action after being denied a purchase at a CVS Pharmacy in West Lafayette. The incident happened on Oct. 25 when Jose Guzman Payano tried to buy cold medication.
“Why would over-the-counter medicine have to escalate to immigration status,” said Payano.
Drug stores require identification for certain medications to protect against drug abuse. It was after Payano showed an employee his Puerto Rico issued I.D. when the problems arose.
“The employee, she came up and she asked for my I.D., I gave her my I.D.,” said Payano. “It says Puerto Rico on the top of it and she kind of gazed at it and then she looked at me and she said, I need a U.S. issued Canada or Mexico license.”
Puerto Rico has been a United States territory since 1898 but Payano said the employee didn't seem to understand.
“I looked at her and I said, this is a U.S. issued license it is from Puerto Rico and then she asked me again, no-no I need like U.S. issued license that's when I re-stated, this is a U.S. issued license, it's from Puerto Rico we're a part of the United States,” said Payano.
Payano then showed the employee his passport but she still wouldn't accept it, instead, she asked for his VISA.
“I told her again, I don't need a VISA, I am from Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens,” said Payano.
Payano said the employee cited CVS store policy to back up her decision in not accepting his I.D. He's demanding the company include Puerto Rico as a valid license and provide more education to employees.
“I feel like there's a huge lack of education in terms of Puerto Rican history and how and why are we a part of the United States so I feel like that plays into a bigger picture,” said Payano.
The CVS corporation apologized for the incident and say it's currently under investigation. For now, Payano is dedicated to ensuring this never happens to anyone else.
“What I want to do is get the Puerto Rican history out there and try and get people educated about the situation so that nobody else goes through the same thing,” said Payano.
Payano ended up leaving CVS Pharmacy without purchasing anything. He was later treated at Purdue University Student Health Center.
The Payano family believes the pressure from the community is what led to CVS responding. We also reached out to the corporation this morning and have not received a response.