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Woman upset after Boulder Circle K rejects Puerto Rican driver's license

Posted at 6:26 PM, Feb 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-24 14:24:10-05

BOULDER, Colo. — Back on Thursday, Ruth Caraballo went to a Circle K in Boulder to get gas and cigarettes. But the clerk told her she couldn't purchase the cigarettes because there was a problem with her ID.

"I gave her my ID, and she told me she could not accept a Puerto Rican driver's license, just US IDs. I explained to her that Puerto Rico is part of the United States. A Puerto Rico driver's license is a US ID. She told me she could not accept it," Caraballo said.

Caraballo, who is American, said she is visiting Colorado and currently lives in Puerto Rico.

She said she called police to help facilitate in hopes of clearing it up, and an officer, wearing a body camera, showed up to try to talk to the manager.

"Nobody can dictate what we can and cannot take. No, we don't take Puerto Rico. We take US ID, US state ID, US passport, US military ID — those are the four things Circle K takes," a store clerk is heard telling the officer on body camera video.

"She actually felt it was inappropriate because Puerto Rico is actually a US territory," the officer replied.

"But it's not a US-issued ID though. That's the problem," the clerk said.

"Well, it's valid. I ran it," the officer said.

Caraballo said she felt the clerk was unfair toward her because she is from Puerto Rico.

"I'm American, and it feels like somebody discriminated against me because of my nationality. It makes you feel really bad," Caraballo said.

She said she tried to contact Circle K corporate, but they have not returned her calls. She said all she wants is an apology.

"I just want them to apologize about what's going on here, and that's it," she said.

After the initial airing of our story, Circle K gave us the following statement:
“At Circle K, we value and respect all of our customers, including our customers from foreign countries and, of course, our customers from all U.S. states and territories. We pride ourselves on being vigilant when selling age-restricted products, and are currently re-evaluating our age verification policies to help ensure there are no further instances where an individual might inadvertently be denied the ability to make a purchase from our store(s) due to their form of identification. That does not benefit the customers or our Company.”