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Santee Barista Brushes Off Racist, Anti-Mask Tirade From Customer Who Refused to Cover Up

NBC Universal, Inc.

A Santee Starbucks barista scolded by a customer who refused to keep her face mask on said the mask debate should be one centered around health and safety, not politics.

A video posted and shared across several social media platforms shows an angry customer yelling at 19-year-old Starbucks employee Alex Beckom after refusing to wear her mask inside.

"This is America, I don’t have to do what you say!”

“It’s a hoax!”

“Trump 2020!"

“F--- Black Lives Matter!”

These are a few of the things the customer, with her mask pulled down around her chin, yelled at Beckom while another customer recorded.

The incident happened Saturday afternoon at the Starbucks on North Magnolia Avenue in Santee.

Beckom, who is Black and also a Santee resident, politely asked the woman to wear her mask after the customer had reportedly pulled it down to speak to another barista.

The customer complied at first, but then pulled it down once more and said this, according to Beckom:

"‘I’m actually exempt from this,' And I said that’s actually not a thing so I need you to keep your mask on while you’re at my store,'” Beckom said recounting the incident.

Their exchange can be heard and read on the edited video Beckom shared on her TikTok account.

 "When you talk to me like that I know you're discriminating against me because I’m a Trump supporter,” the customer told her.

Beckom remained calm and even gave the customer a straw and some extra packets of sugar as she was lashing out at her.

Other customers could be heard apologizing for the disgruntled customer's behavior as she made her way out of the shop.

“I don’t know why it’s all about individual rights when you’re still hurting other people and your family. Even the president got it (COVID-19). So I don’t know how it’s turned into a them or me situation when it should be everybody coming together to make sure we don’t all get sick or get hurt,” said Beckom.

Beckom said she’s learned to cope with situations like this one, which she said occur daily. But this particular tirade, Beckom says, is a reminder of a larger problem.

“I’m black in America so I’ve dealt with these kinds of situations before. So I’m able to stay calm and collected in these kinds of situations because I don’t want to risk my job,” she explained.

"We expect our partners and customers alike to foster a welcoming Third Place environment, and this behavior is not welcome in our stores. Our focus right now is providing support to our partner who demonstrated tremendous composure during a very difficult interaction," a statement from a Starbucks spokesperson said.

This actually isn't the first time Beckom has shared her experiences with racism with NBC 7.

In June, Beckom said she was driving through a parking lot with friends following a peaceful protest in Santee when a group claiming to be protecting a nearby store from looters began directing slurs toward them and accusing them of trying to loot the store.

"We were in a car, nothing was happening. We were driving through the CVS. We had a Black Lives Matter sign that was maybe something that might have ticked them off, and one of them said, ‘You have a lot of nerve driving through here with this,'" Beckom told NBC 7 earlier this summer.

NBC 7's Niala Charles followed the protests all day along with some tense moments after self-described defenders reportedly confronted protesters.

She hopes people can learn from this experience, that wearing a mask is not political but more of an act of respect for others.

After people started sending tips to her Venmo account, Beckom set up a GoFundMe account to share tips with her entire store.

She plans to use if for her college school books.

NBC 7 has not identified the angry customer seen in the video.

Beckom told NBC 7 that her store managers have banned that woman from returning to the store, but that has not been verified by the company.

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