A Starbucks barista allegedly mocked a man for having a stutter, going as far as using extra letters in his name on the printed label of his drink order.
The 28-year-old University of Pennsylvania graduate student, named Sam, went to the Starbucks located in West Philadelphia on June 27, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. After he placed his order, the employee asked for the grad student’s name, and Sam claims the barista repeated back to him, “OK, S-S-S-Sam.”
On top of that, the employee printed “SSSAM” on his cup.
Sam, who has had a stutter since he was 6, said, “It’s rare, as an adult, that that kind of disrespect happens. It happens, but it’s really rare to see it in print.”
Tan Lekwijit, Sam’s friend, posted an account of the incident on Starbucks’ Facebook page on Sunday. He wrote, “There are many people with speech disorders who are in a worse position than my friend’s and struggle with self-esteem and self-confidence. Getting this kind of treatment from people, especially service employees, only scars them — and I beg Starbucks employees to have this in mind.” Lekwijit claimed that the post disappeared that night and that he reposted it to his own Facebook page.
Sam initially emailed Starbucks to complain about his experience at the store, and, according to Lekwijit, he was offered $5 toward a future purchase.
Reggie Borges, a Starbucks spokesperson, told Fox News that the response “wasn’t handled right” and that Starbucks’ regional vice president, Camille Hymes, reached out to Sam after reading Lekwijit’s post.
“Camille apologized to him on the phone. Our customers come into stores to have a really good experience, and this was not reflective of that,” Borges said. “We’re trying to figure out what took place, and once we do, we’ll take the appropriate actions and make a decision on how to handle it in the coming days.”
This incident happened just 29 days after Starbucks closed nearly 800 stores in the U.S. for anti-bias training after two black men were wrongfully arrested in another Philadelphia store, located in the Center City area. The two men settled settled with Starbucks for an undisclosed sum and an offer of a free college education. They reached a separate deal with the city of Philadelphia for a symbolic $1 each and a promise from officials to set up a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs.
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