Starbucks employee in Philadelphia fired after mocking stuttering customer

Starbucks closed more than 8,000 US stores to train employees against racial bias — Reuters pic

A Philadelphia Starbucks came under fire in early July after a man said a barista made fun of his stutter and then mocked him by misspelling his name, NBC Philadelphia reported.

Lekwijit said he first posted about the incident on Starbucks' Facebook page but claims it was deleted. Sam, who stutters, told the barista his name - an everyday experience already imbued with certain anxiety - the barista apparently responded, "Okay, S-S-S-Sam".

Less than a month after Starbucks shut down 8,000 stores nationwide for a racial sensitivity training, the coffee giant is sipping on controversy again in Philadelphia.

A customer posted Sunday on Facebook that his friend stuttered when giving his name.

Per Lekwijit's status, Sam then wrote an email to Starbucks' customer service about the incident, which took place on June 27 just a few miles away from where those arrests occurred in April, and received a standard email back with a $5 gift card. "Getting this kind of treatment from people, especially service employees, only scars them-and I beg Starbucks to have this in mind".

"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.

A day later, Starbucks responded in the comments, saying that it has "zero tolerance for discrimination". Over 175,000 employees participated in the training, and the closing reportedly cost up to $12 million in revenue.

On May 29, Starbucks closed more than 8,000 United States stores to train 175,000 employees against racial bias, following outrage sparked by the April 12 arrest of two black men in a different Philadelphia branch.

Following the incident, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson appeared on Good Morning America, calling the the incident "completely inappropriate" and "reprehensible", and offered a personal apology to the men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson.

"This is something that has been going on for years, and everyone's blind to it, but they know it's going on, if you get what I mean", Nelson said. "However, we do not want to generalize one person's behavior and impugn an entire organization because of one person", Lekwijit said. "This is a people thing".

Starbucks has fired an employee accused of mocking a customer's speech impediment, a representative for the company confirmed to INSIDER.

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