Starbucks employee fired after mocking stuttering customer

Starbucks says it has fired an employee after the latest embarrassment to hit the chain

Starbucks says it has fired an employee after the latest embarrassment to hit the chain Credit AP

Bad news for Starbucks's already spotty reputation: Yet another employee displayed deplorable behavior toward a customer.

The coffee chain, which closed all USA stores on May 29 for racial bias training after an employee called the police on two black men who were waiting for a friend and had them arrested, is in hot water once again after a Facebook post appeared to contain evidence of another employee mocking a customer with a stutter.

When Sam reached out to Starbucks Customer Service, he was offered a $5 gift card in an email saying "they were sorry that he 'felt disrespectful [sic]'" for the way they wrote his name. Lekwijit included with his post a picture of the drink, which shows the misspelled name on the label.

A Facebook user posted that his friend stuttered when giving his name at a Starbucks branch in Philadelphia, and that the barista made light of it verbally and then spelled the name with extra letters. "It was about how you treat people with speech impairments, not how you write names", wrote Sam's friend.

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. "Getting this kind of treatment from people, especially service employees, only scars them - and I beg Starbucks employees to have this in mind".

Starbucks said in a reply to Lekwijit's Facebook post that the employee was no longer with the company.

"Teasing a person about stuttering, no matter the environment, is wrong and reinforces common misconceptions about people [who] stutter", Gerald Maguire of the National Stuttering Association wrote, according to NBC Philadelphia. But Lekwijit said Starbucks had "missed the point" and took to Facebook to "raise awareness".

"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 Inquirer "I don't' know if the [bias] training they just had covered people with speech disabilities, but it should".

"We want our stores to serve as a welcoming place for everyone who visits and want to ensure our partners provide a positive experience", they wrote. "We have zero tolerance for discrimination", Starbucks wrote.

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