Starbucks employee fired for rude message he wrote on stuttering customer's order

Ksenia Novikova
Jul 12, 2018
10:45 A.M.
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The employee was fired from the coffee chain after it came to light that they had mocked a customer who was in the store ordering a beverage with a speech impediment.


When Philadelphia resident Tan Lekwijit and his friend Sam walked into the Starbucks on 34th and Walnut on June 27, they were hoping to have an iced coffee and a pleasant conversation, but instead were met by a disgusting barista.

As is the norm at Starbucks, when ordering a drink, the barista asks the customer's name. Sam, who has a stutter, offered his name, and was met with "Okay, S-s-s-sam” from the barista.

And things only got worse when he was handed his coffee, only to see the barista had even gone so far as to write "Sssam" on his coffee cup


Lekwijit took to Facebook with the story, horrified at the way the barista thought it was acceptable to treat another human being, simply for being different.

When Sam wrote to the company to complain about the way he had been treated, he was offered a weak apology for the way his name was written, and $5.

"Clearly, Starbucks missed the point. It was about how you treat people with speech impairments, not how you write names," wrote Lekwijit of Starbucks' response.


Following Lekwijit's post that was shared almost 800 times, Starbucks has drastically improved their response, sharing that they would investigate the situation.

“We want our stores to serve as a welcoming place for everyone who visits and want to ensure our partners provide a positive experience,” Starbucks wrote in a comment on Lekwijit's post. “We have zero tolerance for discrimination and are addressing this immediately.”


A short while later, they shared that the employee had been fired.

In another incident earlier in the year, the coffee chain came under fire after an employee called the police on two black men who were waiting for an acquaintance inside the store.

Due to the backlash, the chain closed all its stores across the US in order to administer racial bias training to all its employees.

Following this latest incident, Starbucks has announced another round of training modules for employees that will address the likes of “cultural perspectives,” “building diverse teams” and other relevant topics.

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