Disabled vegan woman “kicked out” of empty Doncaster Starbucks branch for eating own sandwich
A disabled vegan woman says she was told to leave an empty Doncaster branch of Starbucks – after sheltering in the deserted cafe to rest her painful legs while changing trains.
Sophie Hollingsworth, who suffers from fibromyalgia, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder and depression, says she was told to leave a branch of the nationwide coffee shop chain at Doncaster railway station this morning – and now says she will never set foot in the chain again after her treatment.
The 25-year-old student had popped into the cafe on platform four while en route from Cleethorpes to Newcastle, believing the shop to be a combined restaurant and waiting room – but claims she was asked to leave because the vegan couldn't find anything to eat on the menu.
She said: "It was really cold which caused my fibromyalgia to become really painful and unfortunately fibro is an invisible illness.
"I went into the cafe/waiting room and looked through the food, there was only one option not containing meat and that had milk in so there was no food for me to eat.
"It was the same with the cakes – all of them had milk or egg or both in, and being vegan I don't eat any of that.
"Seeing as there were maybe 4 or 5 people in the whole place I sat down on one of the comfy seats by the door which I could see the announcements screen from. I figured seeing as it was a waiting room, and there was nothing which fitted my dietary requirements in the cafe I would be OK to eat as I felt dizzy, which I often do from my painkillers and medication."
However, Sophie, from Grimsby, who is studying professional writing and has dreams of becoming an author or TV comedy writer, said that as she began "picking" at food in her bag, a member of staff came over and started getting "shirty" with her.
She said: "A guy came over and said "are you having a drink?"
"And I said "no," slightly confused. So then he said "well if you aren't drinking then you'll have to have food if you're sitting here."
Sophie told the worker that as she was vegan, there was nothing on the menu she could eat and was only using the seat for a few minutes while she waited for her connecting train to Newcastle.
She said: "At this point he told me to leave unless I bought something. I struggled to stand up, still dizzy. He stood there with his arms folded behind the counter then watching me until I had walked outside into the cold and rain.
"I then spent the next 10 minutes sat on a cold, wet bench as I can't very well stand up for any length of time and seeing as I didn't have my crutches with me I had no way or trying to explain what was going on.
"I have bad social anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, and depression and therefore didn't have the confidence to explain to him why I would rather not have moved. With my condition once my joints and muscles – particularly my legs, are in pain it lasts for days at a time."
"Needless to say I won't be going in their cafes again."
The American-founded coffee shop chain has nearly 24,000 branches around the globe and is one of the world's biggest multinational firms,
Starbucks UK has been contacted for a repsonse.