A Tulsa-area police chief's social media post about a Thanksgiving Day insult by a local Starbucks barista to one of his officers went viral, and now the coffee shop employee is "no longer a partner," the company says.
In a Facebook post, Kiefer Police Chief Johnny O'Mara said one of his officers went to the Starbucks in Glenpool and ordered five drinks to take to dispatchers to thank them for working the holiday. But when he received his order, in the location on the cups where customers' names are usually printed was the word "PIG."
"This is what he gets for being nice," O'Mara wrote. "What irks me is the absolute and total disrespect for a police officer who, instead of being home with family and enjoying a meal and a football game, is patrolling his little town."
A Starbucks spokesperson said in a prepared statement that the employee "who wrote this offensive word ... is no longer a partner." A news release from Starbucks indicated the use of the derogatory word for police was a violation of company policy.
The spokesman further said the language was offensive to law enforcement "and is not representative of the deep appreciation we have for police officers who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe."
Jory Mendes, senior communications manager for Starbucks, said they have apologized directly to the officer and are in communication with the department to develop ways to work together, including hosting a Coffee with a Cop event.
O'Mara said the incident serves as "another tiny pinprick into the heart of men and women who are asking themselves more often: 'Why am I doing this?'"
"Just pour the coffee, please," he continued. "Are we at a point where a task as simple as pouring an exceptionally overpriced cup of coffee is so complicated that it cannot be accomplished without 'expressing oneself?'"