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Months after racial bias training a Philadelphia Starbucks mocks a student for stuttering

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One month after Starbucks closed 800 stores nationwide to undergo a company wide racial bias training, a West Philadelphia Starbucks barista mocked a student for stuttering.

Sam, who wished not to use his last name is pursuing his doctorate at the Wharton School. The 28-year-old said he was at the coffee shop located at 3401 Walnut St. Once his order was ready, the barista called out his name by saying “OK, S-S-Sam.”

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The employee even went as far to write “S-S-Sam.” on the coffee cup. “It’s rare, as an adult, that that kind of disrespect happens,” said Sam. “It happens, but it’s really rare to see it in print.”

Sam’s friend, Tan Lekwljit, posted the photo to Facebook. “I am writing this not because I want to get anybody in 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.”

“Stuttering is an affliction that harms people every day,” Sam said.

Sam first reached out to the Starbucks customer service via email and received a $5 gift card. “I thought it was kind of insulting,” he said. “I also thought they didn’t take my issue seriously. It was as if they give $5 to anyone who complains about anything. I sort of got a generic email, and I didn’t feel like I was heard.”

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Starbucks regional vice president Camille Hymes then reached out to Sam personally, and he appreciated that call. “As someone who studies, these kind of things [corporate decisions and operations], I believe she was sincere in her apology,” Sam said.

Heather Grossman, the director of the American Institute for Stuttering, told Philly.com, that discrimination towards people who stutter is common.

“People are often very, very insensitive,” Grossman said. “They don’t realize that [stuttering] truly qualifies as a disability. They think it’s a behavior. Or they treat it as if it’s a temporary condition.”

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Reggie Borges, a Starbucks spokesman said the issue is very serious.

“We are taking this incident seriously, and we have begun a full investigation,” Borges said. “We have a zero tolerance policy for any kind of discrimination. We don’t feel like this [discrimination] is reflective of our values or of our mission. We want everyone who comes to our stores to feel valued and to have a positive experience.”

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Less than a year ago, Starbucks came under heat for a similar situation. The Daily Mail reported that a UK Starbucks also mocked Richard Procter for his stutter.

 

 

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This story has been corrected. An earlier version of this story quoted Reggie Borges saying: “We need to have a zero tolerance policy for any kind of discrimination.”


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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The ultimate damning timeline: NBC reporter explains how the Trump-Ukraine scandal is a ‘simple story’

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Even though the impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump may seem complicated, the story they tell is actually relatively straightforward.

NBC News reporter Mark Murray on Friday created a succinct timeline of events that he says "tells a simple a story" about what the president did that has him facing articles of impeachment in the House of Representatives.

First, says Murray, look at a New York Times report from this past May in which Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani admits that he is traveling to Ukraine to press for investigations that would be "very, very helpful to my client." These investigations included a probe of the work Hunter Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, did for Ukrainian company Burisma.

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Don’t quit now, Democrats: Wrapping up impeachment early is the dumbest idea ever

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Over the past two weeks of marathon testimony in the House impeachment inquiry, it can no longer be disputed that President Trump, his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and members of his administration engaged in a plot to bribe or extort Ukraine into helping the president smear his domestic political opponents. Witness after witness testified to what they saw and the conclusion was inescapable: The president broke the law and abused his power.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Trump bizarrely claims Kellyanne turned George Conway into a ‘nutjob’: ‘She must have done some bad things to him’

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President Donald Trump blamed his senior adviser Kellyanne Conway for her husband's criticism of him.

Conservative attorney George Conway is an outspoken critic of the president, despite his wife's work managing the 2016 presidential campaign and nearly three years of service in the White House, and Trump lashed out at him during a phone interview Friday on "Fox & Friends."

"First of all, Kellyanne is great," Trump said. "She is married to a total whack job. She must have done number on him. I don't know what Kellyanne did to that guy."

"I don't even know him, I met him for a second," Trump continued. "He's got to be some kind of a nutjob. She must have done some bad things to him, because that guy is crazy."

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