Starbucks employee fired after mocking stuttering customer

NEW YORK – Starbucks says an employee in Philadelphia has been fired after reportedly mocking a customer with a stutter.

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

A customer posted Sunday on Facebook that his friend stuttered when giving his name. He said the barista then made light of it verbally and then spelled the name with extra letters. The friend emailed Starbucks and was offered $5 as an apology, according to the post. Starbucks also said that was not the ideal response.

In May, Starbucks held anti-racial bias training for thousands of U.S. employees after a worker at another Philadelphia store called police on two black men waiting for a friend. The incident was a major embarrassment.

A Facebook user named Tan Lekwijlt posted a picture with this comment:

“Starbucks has deleted my post from their page, so here’s again the story:

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.

I am writing this not because I want to get anybody into trouble, but because I want to raise awareness among the employees. 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.”