In what the company is calling a “coaching opportunity for the future,” a woman says she was openly harassed by employees at a Starbucks in North Carolina on Wednesday. The reason she was targeted: she was wearing a Donald Trump shirt. The heckling from the baristas, who mockingly yelled “Build a wall,” was so overt, she said, she finally just “walked out because everyone was staring.”
FOX 46 Charlotte reports:
“I don’t know what politics has to do with getting a cup of coffee,” Kayla Hart said.
Hart walked in to Starbucks on East Boulevard in Dilworth on Wednesday morning, wearing a Donald Trump t-shirt. Instead of being greeted with a smile, Kayla said the cashier laughed and her order was labeled with a political message, mocking her support for the president.
“They shouted out build a wall and shoved a drink at me and then all the baristas in the back started cracking up laughing,” said Hart.
According to Hart, the baristas’ taunts were loud enough to catch the attention of the other customers, who turned to see what was causing the commotion. At that point, Hart said she walked out of the establishment.
“I just walked out because everyone was staring,” she said.
“I just found it really sad that I can’t wear a t-shirt with our president without being made fun of,” Hart told FOX 46. “This isn’t me trying to get people to stop going to Starbucks. I just want it to be put out there so people know this is what’s occurring. I don’t think it’s right you should be humiliated for wearing a t-shirt with your opinion on it.”
Hart submitted a complaint to the store. FOX 46 also reached out for a response and got the following statement from the company:
We failed to meet this customer’s expectations of us, and we have apologized and are working directly with her to make it right. This experience is not consistent with our standards or the welcoming and respectful experience we aim to provide every customer who visit our stores. We have spoken with our store partners about this situation and are using this as a coaching opportunity for the future.
Hart said she also got a response from Starbucks but has yet to hear back from the district manager. As for whether or not she’ll ever step foot back in that Starbucks again, Hart says she hasn’t made up her mind.
Starbucks has branded itself as an “inclusive” business and has repeatedly attempted to participate in cultural conversations, most notably in its “Race Together” campaign, which encouraged baristas to engage customers on issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, but just ended up annoying people.