Cambridgeshire councillor with bowel disease left ‘mortified’ after Starbucks staff tried to force him out of toilet for taking ‘too long’
PUBLISHED: 15:19 09 October 2019 | UPDATED: 12:23 29 October 2019
An East Cambridgeshire district councillor has been left ‘mortified’ after coffee shop tried to force him out of the toilet for taking ‘too long’.
Councillor Matt Downey was in London for a job interview when he visited Starbucks on Sloane Avenue in Chelsea.
Whilst there the 23-year-old from Ely suffered a flare up of his bowel condition and went to the disabled toilet where he stayed for around 20 minutes.
The councillor for Ely East claimed members of staff began knocking on the toilet door, telling him he had to leave or they would open it up.
Speaking to the Mirror Online, the Lib Dem councillor said he was left terrified and was close to tears after staff threatened to open the door using the staff key.
He said: "I was in the loo and started getting some knocking. I said a polite 'hi' as you do, but then the knocking became incessant and the person said I've been in there too long.
"They said something about me being in there hours and it had been around 20 minutes."
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Mr Downey, who is one of the youngest councillors in Cambridgeshire, says staff gave him a deadline to leave the toilet before they took action.
He added: "They then gave me a deadline of two minutes and then one minute. I was pretty terrified and embarrassed."
Mr Downey claims he was forced to reveal his private medical issues to staff and to customers who were close to the bathroom door.
He added: "I repeatedly mentioned that I had a bowel disease but they kept up their threats. Thankfully I finished without them doing anything.
A staff member at the Starbucks branch, who wishes to remain anonymous, admitted to the Daily Mirror he had banged on the door.
He said: "The man was in there for 40 minutes and a long queue of people were waiting and knocking. I also knocked on the door and said, 'can you be quicker please, people are waiting'.
"First I asked if he was OK and then I asked how long he needed. He didn't say how long he needed."
We have approached Starbucks for a comment.
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