Starbucks employee fired after mocking stuttering customer

09 July, 2018, 15:55 | Author: Eric Barnett
  • Starbucks employee fired after mocking stuttering customer

The company confirmed Thursday that it axed the worker from one of their Philadelphia stores after he asked the customer what his name was during a June 27 visit.

A Starbucks employee who mocked a customer with a stutter has been fired.

The coffee chain says the behavior did not reflect the experience customers should have and the employee is no longer with Starbucks.

"When he received his coffee, he was shocked to see that his name on the cup was written as "SSSAM", which was disrespectful", said the Facebook post by Sam's friend Tan Lekwijit.

Lekwijit told INSIDER that Sam emailed Starbucks to alert them of the situation, but they initially downplayed the incident, offering him a "generic response" and a $5 gift card.

It was only after Lekwijit posted a photo of the coffee cup to Starbuck's Facebook page that the company made a decision to take further action "immediately", he said.

It's been less than three months since coffee giant Starbucks came under fire for calling the police on two black patrons who were sitting in one of its Philadelphia coffee shops waiting for a friend.


'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 to have this in mind". Sam, who stutters, told the barista his name - an everyday experience already imbued with certain anxiety - the barista apparently responded, "Okay, S-S-S-Sam".

Clearly, Starbucks missed the point.

"It was about how you treat people with speech impairments, not how you write names", Lekwijit wrote in Facebook post.

"Teasing a person about stuttering, no matter the environment, is wrong and reinforces common misconceptions about people [who] stutter", said NSA Chair Gerald Maguire, MD.

Lekwijit also declined NBC News' requests for interview. The incident resulted in Starbucks shutting down thousands of stores for "bias training" of employees.

"I was angry, and I feel like no stutterer should be treated this way. Not just my friend, but for other people with speech disorders", Lekwijit told the Philadelphia Inquirer on why he chose to make the post. They also said they reached out to the customer to better understand what took place. We have taken immediate corrective action and have apologized to the customer.

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