Philadelphia, PA ( – After months of being the target of customer attacks, employees seem to be fighting back. 

In Philadelphia, a Starbucks employee was fired after he got into a fight with a customer. 

According to reports, a customer said she was attacked by an employee, but the employee said she hit him instead. 

The customer, who remained nameless, told NBC10 that a Starbucks employee made her drinks wrong, so she asked for them to be remade. When he remade it, he did so, she said, with an attitude, causing her to ask for the manager. The employees told her there was no manager in the store.

It was then, she said, that a male employee took a wet rag and hit her in the face. That, she said, started a fight between the two of them. 

The employee, Robert Freda, said it was the other way around. 

Freda denied hitting the woman, and instead said the woman hit him first. He told the station he suffered a black eye and contusions. 

After reviewing the incident, Starbucks fired Freda. 

“It goes without saying, Starbucks is a place where everyone should feel welcome,” the spokesperson wrote. “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.” 

The attack follows another one in July when a Walmart employee allegedly attacked an elderly woman. 

In Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, police said they were called to the Walmart in early July for reports of a 70-year-old woman who had been punched multiple times. 

Police said P. K. Shader, the victim, and the employee, Jazareia Velasquez, got into an argument at the cash register. Shader asked to speak to a manager. 

When she didn’t see the employee’s name tag, she attempted to take a picture of her to “report her to corporate,” Shader said. 

At that point, Shader said, Velasquez flew into a rage and attacked her. 

Velazquez was arrested and charged with aggravated battery to an elderly person and disorderly conduct. 

Walmart said Velasquez had been disciplined over the incident. 

“We want all of our customers to have a pleasant shopping experience in our stores. The associate involved has been suspended, and we continue to assist law enforcement in the ongoing investigation,” the company said in a statement.

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    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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