11-year-old Teigahn Sangster was left “mortified” after she was handed her coffee with the word “fat” written on the cup instead of her name.
She stated that the incident occurred in the Starbucks at the retail park Fort Kinnaird in Edinburgh.
The barista apparently wrote “fat” or “fato” on the small caramel Frappuccino Teigahn ordered.
Upset, she called her mother from the shop and when she was told to go home with the cup, she replied: “It doesn't matter mum, I am fat.”
Starbucks revealed that it is “urgently investigating” the incident.
Teigahn, a resident of Joppa, Edinburgh, stated: “I felt really shocked when I saw what was written. As we sat down my friend first spotted it and said 'that's rude.' I felt really embarrassed, upset and angry by it. What if they'd written it for someone who was bigger? They would feel quite hurt by it and think they had a point - it would scar them for life.”
She stated that she’d been looking forward to the outing with her friend since it was the first time they’d been to the store without adult supervision.
“I'd been excited to go as it was the first time we'd gone on our own and felt really grown up but after seeing what was written I just wanted to go home - it really spoiled it for me. I'm normally a big fan of Starbucks but I won't go back in now. I think the staff need better training,” she added.
Teigahn's mother, Dionne Ford, said she was “disgusted” by the incident.
The outraged 34-year-old said: “I was furious when I heard what had happened - especially on her first trip alone. She phoned me from the café to tell me what had happened and I told her to bring the cup home. She told me 'it doesn't matter mum, I am fat.'”
“It was really upsetting to hear - it made her feel so little and knocked her confidence, I think it's terrible. She's tried to bury it under the carpet but she was obviously very embarrassed - it's bullying,” she added. “Children of this age are so impressionable and many are taking their own lives from bullying and name calling, it's disgusting.”
The mother-of-two added that Teigahn is active and a healthy size for her age.
“She's tall for her age, 5ft 5, and is well developed already but she's not fat by any stretch of the imagination. She wears adult size eight clothing and regularly goes horse riding and indoor rock climbing - she's a really active girl. I used to go to Starbucks every single day but I haven't been back since this happened and I won't be any time soon,” she said.
She added: “The staff need extra training and if it was done as a personal attack that person should be reprimanded, it's completely disgusting.”
A Starbucks spokesman commented on the incident: “We were concerned to learn of this as it is not indicative of the friendly service we provide in our stores. We are very sorry for the upset this has caused the family. Following our investigation, we want to reassure that our store team did not write this intentionally. It was originally crossed through and the circle is an indication that the partner (employee) hasn't captured the name correctly. We would like to get in touch with the family directly to explain and apologize.”
A spokesman for Beat, an eating disorder charity, said: “Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses and their causes are complex - they're now understood to be caused by a combination of a biological predisposition and an environmental or social trigger, with bullying being one possible example of this. We are also aware that low self-esteem and poor body image, which may be caused by comments like these, can contribute to and perpetuate the illness. It is important that as a society we strive to promote healthy body image from a young age, and to celebrate people for what they do, rather than how they look.”
Sources: Daily Mail