Starbucks Employee Sacked

Despite being crippling for sufferers, speech impediments are one of the few remaining disabilities that people are usually able to mock without consequence. Thankfully that looks to be changing as Starbucks fire an employee who made fun of a customer who stuttered while placing his order.

The incident took place at a Philadelphia branch and was brought to Starbuck’s attention in a Facebook post made by the victim’s friend, Tan Lekwijit. He wrote that his friend had stuttered while giving his name and the barista had imitated the stutter by replying “Okay, S-S-Sam”. His friend then was shocked to see that as well as verbally mocking him, the barista had written ‘SSSAM’ on his drink as well.

In the Facebook post, Lekwijit spoke about the effect this type of mockery could have:

“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.”

Sam reportedly wrote to Starbucks to complain but only received a standardised email and an offer of $5. Starbucks has since apologised directly and admitted its initial response was not adequate.

The coffee chain posted on Facebook in response to the accusations:

“We want our stores to serve as a welcoming place for everyone who visits and wants to ensure our partners provide a positive experience. Our local leadership has reached out to Sam to better understand what took place and the specifics of his experience and apologise directly. We have zero tolerance for discrimination and are addressing this immediately.”