The Starbucks shift supervisor who lost her job after an order labeled “PIG” was given to a Kiefer police officer on Thanksgiving Day says she was fired in a “blatant misuse of power.”
Lola Rose, 20, said she believes she didn’t have any control over the ordeal, which garnered international attention after the Kiefer police chief’s social media post exploded, reportedly bringing threats to the young employees working at the Glenpool location.
“It should’ve never happened,” Rose said. “But I also feel like there was nothing in that moment that I could’ve done to change any of it.”
A barista entered the derogatory term after taking the officer’s order at the counter, Rose said. Unlike some other Starbucks locations, Rose said Glenpool is a label-only store and that baristas do not write on customer’s cups. She later understood the barista’s act as an attempt to “punk” another barista — to see whether someone would call the term aloud when the order was ready.
Instead, Rose was called from the back to the floor to help with the holiday rush. Seeing the label and the uniformed officer, Rose said she was immediately uncomfortable with calling out the word.
“It’s something that I don’t personally believe,” she said, referring to the term. “You don’t disrespect the people who help us.”
After a discussion with the barista, Rose said she was under the impression that the barista’s family knew the officer and that it was nothing more than a tasteless joke between people she believed to be acquaintances. The police officer involved told the Tulsa World he had no idea who the barista was until her father, an acquaintance of his, later called him.
The officer, who wished to remain anonymous, said he tried to handle the situation by not making a scene. He said he contacted management and also informed Kiefer Police Chief Johnny O’Mara.
Rose received a phone call from O’Mara at the store, and she said she followed the company’s training in apologizing to him. She informed her general manager of the situation and went about her business until being alerted to O’Mara’s Facebook post.
O’Mara told the Tulsa World that when he made the post, he wasn’t expecting much of a response.
“I regret that it exploded like it did,” he said, adding that he has since changed the Facebook post to private.
The next day, neither Rose nor the barista had a position at Starbucks.
Rose said she was shocked.
A full-time Tulsa Community College student, Rose was hired as a shift supervisor in March. She loved her job and thought it loved her, too.
She recently received a grant from the company to help her move into her first apartment and was in a program that would pay for her bachelor’s degree, she said.
“Starbucks was going to be my life,” she said.
Jory Mendes, senior manager of Starbucks’ corporate communications, said Rose was separated for her role in the incident because she violated policy.
Despite how wronged she feels, Rose said the debacle has also revealed an unexpected amount of support from strangers.
Other Starbucks employees and people from across the country have reached out to her and offered their sympathies, she said. One person, described as a friend, even started a GoFundMe campaign for her, she said.
Thursday morning, the donations reached more than $1,200.
“I am so grateful for all the help and support that I’ve received so far,” Rose wrote on the campaign page. “I can never thank the community that has gathered behind me enough.”