A Starbucks employee in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was fired on Thursday following a report of them mocking a customer with a stuttering speech impediment.
Starbucks confirmed the firing to the New York Post. The initial incident took place on Sunday when a University of Pennsylvania grad going by the name of Sam was mocked by the barista when he told them his name.
"Okay S-S-Sam," the employee responded. He then reportedly wrote "SSSam" on the outside of the coffee cup.
"It's rare, as an adult, that that kind of disrespect happens. It happens, but it's really rare to see it in print," Sam said in an interview with the Philadelphia Enquirer. "It felt rude."
Sam's friend Tan Lekwijit took a photo of the cup and posted it to Starbucks' main Facebook page, asking for them to take action.
"I am writing this not because I want to get anybody into trouble, but because I want to raise awareness among the employees," he wrote in the post. "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."
In an interview with Fox News, Lekwijit said Sam received a "pretty standardized" response from the company's customer service department, offering him a $5 gift card.
Starbucks spokesperson Reggie Borges said in a later interview that regional vice president Camille Hymes personally reached out to Sam to apologize personally.
"Camille (Hymes) apologized to him on the phone," the spokesperson said. "Our customers come into stores to have a really good experience and this was not reflective of that," Borges said, promising to conduct a full investigation. "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."
The coffee chain closed 8,000 of its stores for a day back on May 29 for mandatory employee racial-bias training after two African American men had the police called on them by an employee in April for sitting in the restaurant and reportedly preparing to conduct a business meeting.
The two men — Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson — sued the company over the incident, which was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum in May.0comments