At the end of November, Lola Rose, 21, was working as a shift supervisor at the company’s branch in Glenpool, Okla., when an officer walked into her store and ordered several drinks. Upon receiving one of his drinks, the cop, a member of the Kiefer Police Department, noticed that its label called him “PIG.”
The unnamed officer purportedly informed Kiefer Police Chief Johnny O’Mara, who then publicized the incident on Facebook.
“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,” O’Mara wrote in a since deleted Facebook post, according to NBC News.
The police chief proceeded to say that the term “pig” is “another tiny symptom and a nearly indiscernible shout from a contemptuous, roaring and riotous segment of a misanthropic society that vilifies those who stand for what’s right and glorifies the very people who would usher in the destruction of the social fabric.”
The Facebook post sparked an uproar and ultimately led to Rose’s termination, even though she has maintained that she was not responsible for the label. According to the New York Post, the other coffee cups that the officer received also had the same label.
“I really feel like I was made out to be a martyr,” Rose told the newspaper. “This is a lot of slander on my part, a lot of brushing me under the rug.”
Rose, who is also a college student, claimed that she had, in fact, noticed a similar label on a blueberry muffin on the morning of Thanksgiving during rush hour. The unidentified barista at the center of the controversy had been trying to play a prank, she said.
“The barista was trying to play a joke on her co-worker to see if this co-worker would call these drinks out [as ‘Pig’],” Rose said.
Rose further added that when she noticed the labels on the officer’s cups, she scolded the barista and apologized to the cop, who, in turn, allegedly told her that it was “no big deal.” The 21-year-old said that O’Mara later called her about the incident.
“I offered to buy the entire department, come up here and eat whatever you want to eat,” she said. “He felt that wasn’t good enough for him.”
Rose said she also provided O’Mara with company contacts in the event that he wanted to escalate the issue. Instead, he went on Facebook to voice his complaint, according to the New York Post.
“Not to discount the situation, and someone needs to be reprimanded for it, but I feel like we could’ve handled this like adults, it created a very threatening situation for this store,” Rose said.
Rose told the newspaper that she reported the encounter to her direct managers but was notified the next day that she was being let go.
“I was hysterical,” she said. “I lost it, truly. I was driving to get the money order to move into my first apartment. My whole world crashed in front of me. I begged them to let me speak to one of the higher-ups.”
Rose, a transgender college student, had reportedly applied more than five times for a job at Starbucks, which offers transgender employees specialized health care, along with college tuition assistance.
“It was supposed to be my guardian angel,” she said of her former employer. “They were supposed to be there for me as much as I am there for them but it’s gone because a small-town officer was offended by something [and couldn’t think like an adult] and posted to Facebook.”
Update: In The Know spoke to Starbucks. The company confirmed that Rose was terminated for her involvement in the transaction that took place, which violated its policy.
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