TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Several Starbucks stores in southern Arizona locked their doors precisely at 2:30 on Tuesday afternoon, May 29, to participate in a nationwide training session sparked by a viral video.
The video shows two men being arrested at a Philadelphia store in April. Witnesses said the pair was in the store for less than two minutes when police were called.
The company issued an apology and promised to conduct training sessions at 8,000 of its locations across the United States. More than 175,000 employees were expected to participate.
Locally, customers at the location near Cortaro and I-10 were greeted with a sign saying it would be closed at 2:30 p.m. so employees can work to make Starbucks more welcoming.
Starbucks workers says the training will last about four hours, but the stores will remain closed for the day and reopen at 4 a.m. on Wednesday.
The company said it partnered with experts and advocates to create the curriculum employees will watch. Click here to see a preview of the training.
7,000 licensed stores will not be closing, including those inside airports, hotels and grocery stores.
After the training, the material will be released and licensed stores will have the option to make it available to their employees.
Some customers who were asked to leave at the 2:30 p.m. deadline or who arrived after the doors were locked said they understood.
"I think it's a great idea," said David Class who was asked to leave when the doors were locked. "We need to build up awareness."
"I think in an instance like this, they have a lot at stake," said Trish Waits, who was locked out. "I'm glad and I don't mind being turned away.
At Caffe Luce, near campus, the training has been a topic of conversation.
"We've had this conversation among ourselves and customers," said barrista Brianna Grenier. "We have a very diverse people who come in."
Being close to the university she said we have "students, teachers, all ages, backgrounds, religions, it's great."
While they don't have or have not undergone diversity training, she feels as long as everyone is treated the same, "with kindness, then we show kindness in return."
Ted Weinert, a molecular biologist who studies DNA, said he agrees more diversity training is needed so people understand they are the same.
"That's basically the bottom line of life, that people are not different," he said. "But they have to be reminded they are not different."
Who better than a DNA scientist to boil it down to basics.
"Everybody tends to think they're different, but they're not," he said.