When one young woman decided to stop at Starbucks, her cup of coffee came with a “secret note” meant to rescue her from harm. What happened next sparked a heated debate that went viral.
When the 18-year-old daughter of Brandy Roberson stopped at a Starbucks in Texas to get a cup of coffee, she had no clue she would go viral and become the subject of a heated controversy after the barista delivered her a “secret note.”
The Starbucks worker feared the teenager, who was sitting at a table studying, was in danger and delivered a message written on a cup: “Are you okay? Do you want us to intervene? If you do, take the lid off the cup.”
Brandy Roberson explained the story in a Facebook post: “My 18-year-old daughter was at Starbucks, alone, the other night. A man came up to her and started talking to her. A barista handed her ‘an extra hot chocolate someone forgot to pick up.'” That cup came with a message informing the teen that the employees were prepared to rescue her if she was in danger.
“The man was very loud and animated,” the Texas mom added. “She looked up and just saw a row of baristas staring at her — ready to step in. It made me feel so grateful that the Starbucks employees were watching out for her. As a mom, that is my worst fear that something would happen to my child and nobody would be there to help.”
The concerned mother also mentioned that her daughter “felt safe” and did not remove the lid. However, this sparked a heated debate on social media. “She felt safe and did not remove the lid, but let them know,” Brandy added in her post. “She said the whole team was watching over her the rest of the time she was there. Thank you to Starbucks for having a great team.”
The “secret note” story and photo went viral after being shared on social media by Call to Activism. “This gave me goosebumps,” they wrote in a post viewed over 20 million times. Many netizens claimed the Starbucks staff had overreacted and bemoaned the current state of male-female relations.
“Damn, a male adult can’t even try to meet another adult n real life without being presumed a threat. What a world we men live in,” posted one social media user.
Another commented, “Can’t approach women in coffee shop (creepy). Can’t approach women at work (unprofessional). Can’t approach women at the gym (distracting, creepy). Can’t approach women at church (no singles). Can’t approach women in public (with friends). What are men supposed to do?”
Author Rachel Wilson wrote, “Feminism has created mass hysteria that men are nothing but violent assault machines, and that the only thing stopping them from enslaving the entire female sex is feminist activism and laws. It’s insanity and it must stop. Women’s studies departments should be shut down.”
However, others on social media believed the baristas did the right thing, saying the negative reaction to the incident from “angry men” just proved the point.
“Men in the quotes giving us great examples of why the employees stepped in,” one said.
“There’s a difference between the garden-variety guy who just wants to chat with a girl in a coffee shop and one who is making someone feel uncomfortable,” another wrote. “Not being there it’s hard to know, but the way they described him it sounded like he was being obnoxious and loud.”
According to reports, young people are more lonely and dissatisfied than their parents, and they have fewer partners. It could be because young men aren’t trying to meet young women. A 2023 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that almost half of U.S. adults report “measurable levels of loneliness.” A study published on DatePsychology suggested nearly half of young men under 25 had never approached a woman in person, with most citing fear of rejection and fear of social consequences.