Man With Stutter: Starbucks Barista Told Me, 'OK, S-S-Sam'

Coffee mega-chain says it's investigating the incident
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2018 2:07 PM CDT
Customer Says Starbucks Barista Mocked His Stutter
In this May 29, 2018, file photo, a barista reaches for an empty cup at a Starbucks.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Starbucks insensitivity, round two? Seems that way after a Starbucks customer in West Philadelphia says a barista mocked his stutter last week by mimicking him, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. "OK, S-S-Sam," the barista apparently told the 28-year-old University of Pennsylvania graduate student, who identified himself only as Sam. "It's rare, as an adult, that that kind of disrespect happens," he says. He was also shocked to see his name written as "SSSam" on the cup, saying "it's really rare" to see disrespect for stuttering in print.

He confirmed that a Starbucks rep called him to apologize. "As someone who studies these kinds of things [corporate operations and choices], I believe she was sincere in her apology," says Sam. He points out that stuttering "is an affliction that harms people every day" and says he's had a stutter for 22 years. "But I'm not the right person to be the face of that fight." Starbucks has launched what it calls "a full investigation." (In April, Starbucks shuttered 8,000 locations for anti-bias training after two black male customers were arrested for allegedly trespassing at a Philadelphia location.)

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