Starbucks Refuses To Serve Woman With Service Dog, Apologises Later

A 24-year-old New York woman who was refused service by a Starbucks outlet and later posted a video about it on to YouTube has received a formal note of apology from a senior employee at Starbucks, reports Yahoo. The woman, identified as Amy Kaplan is a resident of suburban Brighton and had recently visited the Starbucks outlet at Twelve Corners shop. Amy who suffers from a medical condition and requires a service dog beside her was however not let inside the store because she had bought her service dog along with her. The Starbucks employee was not convinced that the dog she had with her was indeed a service dog.

In the video, Amy is heard asking the reason for refusal of service to the Starbucks employee;

Are you denying me access because of my service dog?

To which, the employee replies;

No, I’m not. I’m telling you that you cannot come in with your service dog.

The incident reportedly happened at the Starbucks outlet at around 3 p.m. Sunday when Amy decided to take a break after a long walk with her service dog. Kaplan who used to work as an emergency responder was injured in a crash between an ambulance and a bus two years ago. She suffered a traumatic brain injury in the crash. She also suffers from bipolar disorder. It was due to these medical conditions that she was told to get a service dog – which in this case was a Malamute named Zero. The service dog is required so that it can help her cope with her memory issues. Amy has problems remembering where she parks her car and locating her apartment. The service dog also helps her manage her anxiety, according to The Democrat & Chronicle.

Following the posting of the video to YouTube and the subsequent media coverage, Amy received an email from Sumi Ghosh who is a regional vice president at Starbucks. In the email, Ms. Ghosh apologized to Amy for what happened at the Starbucks outlet and expressed her desire to talk to Amy about the same.

I want to personally apologize to you about what happened. It is not consistent with our standards and policies and your experience was clearly not what we would have wanted for you.

Sumi also told Amy that she had tried contacting her but her phone wasn’t reachable. Laurel Harper, a Starbucks spokesperson has also admitted that whatever happened was unfortunate;

“It’s unfortunate that this happened,” Harper said. “Ms. Kaplan did have an experience that’s absolutely inconsistent with our values and our service animal policy.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act gives people with service dogs the right to bring their animals inside businesses that serve the public. People accompanied with service dogs are not required to present any identification or verification which would verify that the animal they are accompanied with is a service animal.

Do you think the Starbucks employee should have been a little bit more considerate towards Amy?

[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]