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Police Officer Says Starbucks Employee Refused To Let Him Use Restroom

| by Jared Keever
Starbucks sign on storefront Starbucks sign on storefront

A Facebook post alleging that a Philadelphia Starbucks employee refused to let a uniformed police officer use a restaurant restroom has gone viral. 

The post, made on Sept. 11, came in the form of an image posted to the Starbucks Facebook page. It is a typed message, purportedly from a sergeant with the Philadelphia Police Department, about an alleged incident that is said to have occurred on either Thursday or Friday, according to WCAU News. 

“So I walk into the Starbucks at 13th & Chestnut in full uniform and ask the young blonde liberal behind the counter if I could use their public bathroom for which you need a key code and she states in a loud voice, so all the other customers can hear that the bathroom is for paying customers only,” the post reads in part. 

“I then ask in a very polite manner if I could please use it,” the post continues. “She then states in the same loud manner and a smirk ‘Are you a paying customer?’”

The post goes on to say that the sergeant soon “realized what she was doing” and walked out of the store “astonished” that the customers and other employees “said nothing and seemed indifferent.”

Police Officer Joe Leighthardt, who says he knows the sergeant involved in the alleged incident, posted the message to Facebook. 

“Thought you world like to know this happened at your 1301 Chestnut St in Philadelphia,” he wrote in a message accompanying the post.  “In a time when police are being made the enemy, Your clerk pulls this nonsense. And might I point out, this store is a frequent caller to police for some sort of service.”

“I didn't intend for it to go viral,” Leighthardt told WCAU. 

But it has. 

Since being posted, it has been shared over 14,000 times and “liked” by over 4,000 users. It has also drawn over 1,200 comments, many of which, Leighthardt pointed out, are supportive of the sergeant.

Starbucks also responded in a comment. 

“Hi Joe, thank you for taking the time to voice your concerns,” the company’s message reads. “We are aware of this situation, and it is certainly not in line with the experience we want any of our customers to have in our stores. We are taking all necessary steps to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future. Thanks!”

The company also reportedly responded in another comment later, saying it would like contact information for the sergeant involved so it could reach out directly. 

"We would like to discuss the situation with the police officer and hear from them directly about this experience,” Starbucks said, according to WCAU. "If you happen to know who this was -- please have him/her send us a private message through our page with their contact info.”

Leighthardt said he believed the sergeant has contacted the company.

The sergeant reportedly declined to comment when contacted by WCAU. Starbucks did not immediately respond to WCAU's requests for comment.

Sources: WCAU NewsFacebook: Starbucks

Photo credit: Marco Pakoeningrat/FlickrRudolf Schuba/Flickr