A young black woman was accused of trying to pay for a smoothie with a fake $20 note that turned out to be real.
Smoothie King apologised and promised to retrain its staff after being confronted with a video of the incident at their shop in Harrisburg, North Carolina.
The footage was posted to Twitter by LaWanda Bell's brother, Zavian Bell, but has since been restricted. It appeared to show LaWanda and her parents walking into the shop with the $20 she had previously been told was fake and using it successfully to pay for a smoothie.
Bell's mother, claiming to be a government official, then confronted the employees, asking them why they had initially rejected the $20 note. An employee responded that when he ran the note through the detector it had flashed up as fake both times but he had decided to let it pass the second time.
He then scanned the note in front of the Bells and it flashed up green, indicating that the money was real.
Zavian Bell also alleged that the Smoothie King employees were "laughing and joking" after initially refusing his sister service. He wrote on Twitter:
My little sister was falsely accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill at Smoothie King (same thing George Floyd was accused of).
Bell's mother also alluded to George Floyd's death when confronting the Smoothie King employees.
How dare you accuse my daughter of having counterfeit money?
Someone just died after he was falsely accused of having counterfeit money.
Floyd was killed by a former Minneapolis Police officer who was called after he was accused of trying to use a fake $20 note.
Smoothie King publicly apologised to the Bell family. They also claimed to have removed the "unreliable" scanning device.
@Taayy_____ @ZCB___ Hi! Let us provide more detail regarding the Charlotte situation and invite you to read our com… https://t.co/D0NAoxyIb3
Brian Augustine, an owner of Smoothie King Harrisburg, told the CharlotteObserverthat their director of operations had met with the Bells for two hours and explained that the employees had repeatedly tried to scan the bill but it had been rejected each time. The family was shown CCTV of this happening, he said.
Smoothie King also announced a $100,000 donation to the NAACP Legal Defence Fund to "promote fair and equitable treatment of all people".