Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

Starbucks employee fired after mocking stuttering customer

Starbucks employee fired after mocking stuttering customer

An employee at a Philadelphia Starbucks allegedly mocked a customer for his stutter, and spelled out a stuttered version of his name on the drink.

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

When Sam, a 28-year-old University of Pennsylvania graduate student, and his friend Tan Lekwijit visited a Philadelphia Starbucks on June 27, Sam stuttered while giving his name to the barista, according to a Facebook post by Lekwijit.

A Philadelphia man claimed a barista in Philadelphia mocked his speech impediment by writing extra letters before his name on a coffee cup after he ordered last week.

Lekwijit wrote that Sam sent an email to customer service and was offered an apology and a credit of $5.

The customer's friend took to Facebook to tell the story, sharing a picture of the cup the customer received at the Starbucks on 34th and Walnut in Center City.

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Lekwijit previously told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he posted the incident to Facebook because he was angry, and said no one should be treated that way. "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", he wrote on July 1.

'Getting this kind of treatment from people, especially service employees, only scars them-and I beg Starbucks employees to have this in mind'. "It was about how you treat people with speech impairments, not how you write names".

"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.

The shocking incident comes just three months after the top American coffee chain sparked nationwide outrage when two black men were arrested at another Philadelphia Starbucks.

Lekwijit also declined NBC News' requests for interview. Starbucks said Thursday that was not the ideal response, and that it has since apologized to Sam directly.

However, Lekwijit told the Inquirer that he feels Starbucks' recent sensitivity training should have also covered people with speech disabilities, so that no one else like Sam is mocked. "We've taken immediate corrective action and have apologized to the customer", a Starbucks spokesperson confirmed in a statement to INSIDER.

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