You Won’t Believe How Kind, Creepy Starbucks Baristas Can Be


Starbucks baristas are going viral for opposite reasons today, showing the dark and light sides of the coffee roasting game.

Rebecca King, 28, is a deaf woman living in St. Augustine, Florida, who posted a video of herself communicating in sign language with a Starbucks barista to Facebook. Using the new digital video screen at the drive-thru, King held a sign conversation with barista Katie Wyble, 22, when ordering her usual coffee on Monday. The next day she went back and made sure to take video. Her video has since been viewed nearly 8 million times on Facebook.

"It is a big deal to (the) deaf community that Starbucks has one now. Nowhere else has that!" King told Jacksonville NBC affiliate WTLV. "We all want to have that at every drive-thru in the world."

Wyble, who has been studying American Sign Language since grade school, says she recognized King as one of her regulars and used sign language as a matter of course.

"I'm glad that there's more awareness for deaf culture and the deaf community,'' Wyble told WTLV. "To see this come to light and actually be a part of it, I feel so blessed."

But, for every heartwarming story, there’s a slightly creepy one.

A London barista recently came into national news for crossing off parts of the cup’s safety warning to make it say, “Careful, you’re extremely hot” before handing it to 19-year-old Laura Roberts. As a 2013 Huffington Post piece shows, this is not exactly uncommon. But it did catch the eye of Roberts’s mother, who posted it to public Facebook group "Shit London" with the commentary, "Creepy barista writing inappropriate messages on my daughter's coffee. Looks like son in-law material."

"For me the problem isn't him telling her that she's extremely hot, but the fact that he's also left 'careful' on the cup — why is this a warning?!?!” one Facebook user agreed. "If someone said (or wrote) to me careful, you're extremely hot, especially in front of my dad, then I'd definitely find their motives questionable, rather than assuming it was just a compliment."

Though some feel that way, a Telegraph poll shows that 75% of respondents don’t find a problem with it.

The Daily Mail asked Roberts what she thought of the message:

"'He's a lovely boy, I don't find it creepy and I didn't feel intimidated,' she said. 'I've got a fiance, so sadly he's out of luck but I'm sure I'm not the only one he's done it for. He's a nice boy and he wouldn't have been trying to offend anyone. People should just take it as a joke and I want him to know that. He's very nice, but sadly for him I'm taken.'"

Starbucks itself doesn’t seem so concerned: "We are sorry if anyone was offended by this," a spokesperson told The Daily Mail.

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