Starbucks Apologizes To Woman Denied Entry With Service Dog

A Starbucks worker told a bipolar college student to leave

Starbucks In Hot Water For Kicking Out Service Dog
A 24-year-old Brighton, N.Y., college student said she had an emotionally shaking experience when an employee at a Starbucks told her to leave because of her service dog, USA Today reported. Amy Kaplan was so upset that she recorded the end of the incident on her phone, posted it on YouTube and contacted the chain's customer service department.

Now, Starbucks is trying to make amends. A spokesperson told AOL Jobs the chain is "very sorry to hear about her experience and we've been trying to reach out to her via phone and email." Kaplan told USA Today that while she received an email from the company, her phone was not working and she was unable to take the call. The chain has yet to hear back from her, the spokesperson said.

Denying entry to a person with a service dog is illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Kaplan told WHEC-TV she wants to use the incident to help teach people about those who need service dogs.

Kaplan suffers from severe bipolar disorder and also suffered a traumatic brain injury two years ago, USA Today reported, when she worked as a first responder on an ambulance that had a collision with a bus. She has memory issues and depends on her malamute, Zero, who she trained to help her with such tasks as finding her apartment or managing anxiety.

Kaplan recorded part of the exchange with the Starbucks employee. Although Zero often wears a service dog vest, the temperature was 80 degrees and she did not want to add another layer to the heavily-coated animal. She wrote that the man started "harassing" and "screaming" at her and only quieted somewhat when Kaplan was clearly recording the incident.



Later that day, Kaplan recorded a video describing the impact the event had on her.



At times visibly shaken and seemingly close to tears, she explained that after all the work she put into training her malamute, Zero, she wonders if what she hoped would "help me get my life back" might ultimately not work because of the public's reaction.

If you were a person in a wheelchair, how would you feel if every place you ever went, someone said, 'Get out, you can't have that wheelchair in here. We don't allow wheelchairs in here.' It's overwhelming. You know, some people are just uneducated about it and you can resolve it easily, and then some people become very offensive and very aggressive. Especially for people who have problems with anxiety, it can make our medical conditions so much worse. I don't even know if I can do this anymore.

A Starbucks representative stressed in the conversation with AOL Jobs that the company's policy is to "always welcome service animals into our stores." The company said that it specifically stresses to new employees, and to all in annual reminders, that they can ask if an animal is a service dog but many do not ask for documentation. The spokesperson did say that although such incidents are "not a common occurrence in our stores," it was not the first time something like this happened.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

575 Comments

Filter by:
suzyqmamas

There is no reason for anyone to be disrespected--by Starbucks or any other establishment. The people that work there may need to be reminded of that. We,the public who goes there,pay their salery,leave their tips,and ensure their jobs. And if we stop going to starbucks--they will no longer be needed there. And if they continue to mistreat their customers--that is what will happen. NO BUSINESS.

September 12 2014 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hi halbert

Unbelievable that in this day and age that this happens

September 09 2014 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
clutz175

honestly i have had my own run in with starbucks in nyc. I run one of the crews for my father's constuction/welding/contracting company. So one day while on a job in NYC I decided I would get my crew lunch and coffee from starbucks rather than the gross McDonalds (12 people mind you) I had to use the restroom and asked to use the restroom first before I ordered (what was i supposed to do with 12 coffee's in a crowded starbucks while i'm using the restroom?) I was denied entry into the restroom very rudely. I was so mad i got us all lunch at subway and then went back and informed a manager what had happand and just how much money that move cost them.

September 05 2014 at 8:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dave

Thank god I don't drink coffee.. I wouldn't walk into that over-rated & overpriced joint even if I owned them.

September 05 2014 at 4:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bee

The woman, who is pretty whinny, knows that if the dog has the proper identification (service vest) that it easily identified but she chose not to have it on the animal. So, when she doesn't have the identification on the animal I can see where the Starbucks person asked. Did you notice she had the animal's service dog vest on for the interview? She gets it dressed up for the news but not for a stop in the coffee shop.

September 05 2014 at 3:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bee's comment
clutz175

the point is that legally she does NOT have to have ID on the animal and she isn't whiny she has brain damage. Also she was being responsible by not contributing to the dog over heating.

September 05 2014 at 8:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wntuc

What have we become when we need a dog to help us emotionally everywhere we go.....I guess this is todays "strong woman". She's pretty whiney too. Poor dog probably wishes he was on a farm.

September 05 2014 at 2:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wealth Builder

Everyone's dog is a service dog these days. Unless someone is blind, I wouldn't believe them either.

September 05 2014 at 2:27 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
bashman30

Why would anyone pay the prices $tarbucks charges for coffee anyways. I have never been to $tarbucks and never will

I won't stand in line for coffee....It's not my cup of tea

September 05 2014 at 2:11 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
onthecas

Although there are laws regarding service dogs there are also laws regarding animals in food establishments.
The owner of the dog does state that the dog was not wearing a service vest which would of identified the dog to both the employee and any health official that could fine establishment or lowered their food rating for allowing an animal into their coffee shop.
Also allowing the dog into establishment Starbucks does assume liability in any civil litigation due to issues from other patrons in their establishment. As empathetic as I am to the girl and her disability her responsibility is also to have proper identification of her dog as service provider for her disability.

September 05 2014 at 1:52 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to onthecas's comment
bashman30

" her responsibility is also to have proper identification of her dog as service provider for her disability."

Sorry buttercup but you are both dumb and ignorant research 1st the AWD act before making such a fool out of thyself

September 05 2014 at 2:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alighthouse4jc

Perhaps it could be as simple as Starbuck's posting a sign (both in type & braille) "Service Animals Welcome". I work with individuals with disabilities and have seen such signs posted in other establishments. Wishing the best outcome for all!!!

September 05 2014 at 1:31 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Top Companies Hiring

Week of Oct 19 - 26
View All

Featured Writers

Meet the team

Picks From the Web