A 37-year-old man is protesting the ban he earned from a Spokane, Washington, Starbucks after he asked a 16-year-old barista on a date by passing her a “creepy” note, according to a report from CBS. According to the man, Lucas Werner, “This is a clear case of age discrimination.”
“You can’t even work at a Starbucks unless you’re 16, which is the legal age to date people.”
Werner, who according to KREM said the girl “thought I was funny,” sat down and “wrote her a nice note, so as not to interrupt her work schedule asking her out to dinner.”
Starbucks employees are, naturally, expected to be friendly and outgoing to customers, and many rely on tips as a significant part of their income.
When he returned the next day, a uniformed police officer informed him that he was banned from the store and noted that businesses are allowed to refuse service to anyone, for as long as they see fit to do so. Werner, however, is claiming “age discrimination,” and took to Facebook to ask the public to intercede on his behalf.
Unfortunately for Werner, his ploy backfired; when his Facebook post gained attention, people flocked to the Starbucks’ Facebook page to praise them for their action. Many current and former members of the service industry recounted their own similar experiences in the service industry. One user said, “As a teen I had to deal with similar issues working in a restaurant as a hostess. It is an uncomfortable position no girl want to be put in. Thank you so much for supporting your employees.”
The post gained international attention, drawing comments from around the globe.
“Thank you Starbucks for protecting your employees, and future employees, from people like this perverted dirty old man.”
“A Spokane Police Officer said the note was creepy, which it wasn’t,” said Werner, who in his own words runs “a whole webpage dedicated to age gap love.” Since the incident, his Facebook page has featured numerous self-made images promoting his website and arguing in favor of his desire to “date women born in the 1990s.”
“Even slightly chubby nerdy chicks are both gorgeous and interesting.”
According to Werner’s website, science tells him that as an older man, “we partner best as males of my age with young adult females.” According to his beliefs as stated on the site, he must have children with a woman no older than 26, and young women “owe” that to him.
“We are not creepy.”
Following the backlash to his ban, he also posted a considerable screed stating that “Millennials are bigots” because they “mostly only date other Millennials,” and threatening suicide if he doesn’t get a date from “a single 18 to 26 year old woman in Spokane, Washington, without kids.”
“Go out to dinner with me or I’m going to commit suicide.”
Meanwhile, a Starbucks spokesperson praised the actions of the staff at the Spokane location, saying that Starbucks had no tolerance for “inappropriate behavior or harassment” and that they would continue to support their local partners and local authorities in investigating and taking appropriate action against incidents.
Although it was relatively minor compared to the outpouring of support, Starbucks did receive some criticism for the decision. Many of those who did oppose the move felt that a ban was excessive, and called the move rash.
But after Werner’s post was shared almost 5,000 times, over a thousand people took to the Spokane Starbucks’ page to leave five-star reviews of the location and express their support. One commenter even started a GoFundMe page, supporting “Telomerase Injections For Lucas,” although at the end of the post he indicated that all money raised would be donated to the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Washington to support victims of child abuse and rape.
Werner, meanwhile, remains welcome at any other Starbucks location in Washington or elsewhere.
What do you think, readers? Did this Starbucks overreact to Werner’s note-passing? Or has he received his just desserts?
[Featured Image by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images]