This Simple Mistake Led To A Fight Between A Starbucks Barista And A Customer

August 14 was an eventful day at a Philadelphia Starbucks, to say the least. An employee ended up being fired after a supposed physical brawl with a customer. The event occurred after a barista at the Center City location was asked to remake a woman's order after she complained they didn't make the drinks correctly the first time.

The unnamed customer said that the former employee, Robert Freda, had an attitude when she asked him to redo the order. She says he made a drink filled halfway with caramel and then slammed it on the counter and then proceeded to hit her in the face with a rag when she requested to speak to the chain's manager, who was not around at the time of the incident (via NBC10 Philadelphia).

"He took his wet rag, smacked me in my face with it and he swung at me," she said to NBC10. "So we started fighting. I was shocked for a second. Then he swung at me so I swung back."

Freda, on the other hand, told a different story. Instead, he says, it was the customer who instigated the physical fight, and he simply had a rag in his hand that he was swinging in the heat of the moment, but he didn't intend to make contact with her. As Freda told NBC, "​​She proceeded to jump across the counter swinging at me. And at that point my fight or flight response kicked in."

The resolution of the Starbucks incident

Though he denied that he had actually hit the customer, Freda was fired from his barista position at the Center City Starbucks in metro Philadelphia.

A Starbucks spokesperson stated, "I can confirm we have separated the partner (employee) after our initial investigation. The type of behavior described in this incident is not indicative of the type of dignity and respect we want our partners and customers to show when in our stores. ...It goes without saying, Starbucks is a place where everyone should feel welcome."

As seen in this Business Insider article, Starbucks workers are frequently exhausted. Working at a Starbucks means having a high tolerance to stress, as you are under a lot of pressure to work quickly and make no mistakes. The events that unfolded at the Philadelphia Starbucks make it clear how cumbersome the job can actually be.

Starbucks said as part of its investigation of the incident, they also reviewed video footage from inside the store. Freda, though no longer employed at Starbucks, insists that it was the customer who provoked the physical confrontation, saying, "If anybody was left with more damage it was me." The unnamed customer told NBC10 that she plans to file charges.