This week in heartwarming Facebook videos that are genuinely touching but also suspiciously oriented around promoting a major brand: a deaf woman, Rebecca King, signing her order at a Starbucks drive-through in St. Augustine, Florida. Barista Katie Wyble has had a “passion for sign language” since preschool, she tells CBS. The video has 6 million views and counting; if you sign into Facebook, there is an extremely high probability you will see it.
Complicating this sunny picture of feel-good shareable viral joy is the fact that, two weeks ago, on October 21, Starbucks was sued by a deaf former barista for bias. The barista requested an ASL interpreter; Starbucks didn’t comply, and later fired her under the pretext that her tattoos were visible. Not saying a Starbucks-commissioned PR agency made sure this very convenient video went big on Facebook, but not not saying that. The best thing about the internet is the way it can tug at your heartstrings and stoke your paranoia in equal measure, at the same time.