Starbucks says an employee in Philadelphia has been fired after reportedly mocking a customer with a stutter.
According to NBC 10, a University of Pennsylvania graduate student named Sam was stuttering while giving his name to the barista and the barista replied back, “Okay, S-S-S-Sam". Sam’s friend, Tan Lekwijit said the mocking continued when the barista wrote “SSAM’ on a cup.
Sam wrote an email to Starbucks Customer Service about the incident and Starbucks apologized for the employee’s actions. They offered Sam $5 to use for his next visit. Lekwijit felt the company did not take Sam’s experience very seriously so he wrote about the incident on their Facebook page.
“My friend Sam who is a stutterer stuttered on his name when ordering a coffee at Starbucks. The barista said, “Okay, S-s-s-sam." When he received his coffee, he was shocked to see that his name on the cup was written as “SSSAM", which was disrespectful. Later that day, he wrote an email to Starbucks Customer Service and got a pretty standardized email saying they were sorry that he “felt disrespectful [sic]" for the way they wrote his name and offered him $5. Clearly, Starbucks missed the point. It was about how you treat people with speech impairments, not how you write names."
Starbucks replied to his comment confirming that they spoke with Sam in a previous email.
“Our local leadership has reached out to Sam to better understand what took place and the specifics of his experience and apologize directly. We have zero tolerance for discrimination and are addressing this immediately,"
Starbucks stated on Wednesday that the barista no longer works at the cafe but did not reveal their identity.