SAN DIEGO – A social media post by a disgruntled San Diego Starbucks customer has prompted a big response from Facebook users around the country.
Earlier this week, a customer claimed she was refused service by an employee inside the store because she wasn’t wearing a mask. The post reads:
“Meet [redacted] from Starbucks, who refused to serve me cause I’m not wearing a mask. Next time I will wait for cops and bring a medical exemption.”
The post has received more than 110,000 comments in about 24 hours. However, most commenters express sympathy for the employee, not the woman who was refused service.
“Give the kid a break,” said Joanne Sharp a customer at the same Starbucks in Clairemont where the incident happened. “He’s just doing his job.”
“She got called out for it for trying to ruin this kid’s day,” said Matt Cowan who saw the post.
Cowan said the woman went on to write in the comment section that she attempted to call Starbucks corporate management to report the employee’s action.
This controversy erupted less than a week after Gov. Gavin Newsom mandated that masks are necessary in almost every public setting statewide.
FOX 5 went to the home of the woman who posted the complaint on Tuesday. Her husband answered the door but declined an interview. However, he did say the woman has asthma. According to California’s official COVID website, there are some exemptions for the face mask requirement. One is for “anyone with respiratory issues where (a mask) would impede their breathing.”
“A private business has every right to turn you down, if they’re not comfortable with it,” Sharp said.
A media relations team member from the county agreed, pointing out that many Starbucks have drive-thru service if a customer really needs coffee but doesn’t want to wear a mask in the store.
Meanwhile, Cowan started a GoFundme in hopes of funneling some “tip money” to the employee called out in the Facebook post.
“I thought maybe I could get $1,000 for him,” Cowan said. “I never thought it would turn into this.”
By Tuesday evening, over $10,000 in donations had poured in to support the young barista.
“He was shocked,” said Cowan, who said he has spoken to the employee and plans to deliver the money to him this week.
Starbucks said the employee is still on staff and issued the following statement:
“In instances where medical conditions prohibit mask use, we will accommodate customers to ensure their health and safety and still serve them.”