Starbucks banned this man for policing handicapped parking spots, then took it back

A man who set out to keep the wrong people out of the handicapped spot at Starbucks ended up being banned for life. 

Rob Rowen, 62, was hit with the lifetime ban after he repeatedly asked customers to move when they parked in handicapped spots without the proper pass, according to ABC News.

He felt his actions were necessary because of the limited parking options for disabled people at the South Dale Mabry Starbucks store in Tampa.

Screen Shot 2015 07 27 at 11.01.49 AMYouTube/TubeHDRob Rowen is calling out people for illegally parking in the handicapped spot in front of a Tampa Starbucks.

“My son-in-law has muscular dystrophy and is in a power wheelchair. I’ve seen so many times, the issue of him trying to find a parking space,” Rowen said to WTSP.

Of the estimated 20 spots in the lot outside the store, only one is a handicap accessible parking space, according to Rowen.

Rowen shared to ABC that some customers would graciously comply with his requests and move from the handicapped spot, but others felt he was a nuisance and even complained about him.

Screen Shot 2015 07 27 at 11.05.24 AMYouTube/TubeHDThere is only one handicapped parking spot at the Tampa Starbucks.

The man has resorted to extreme measures in the past to convince people to move from the spot, even taking a picture of one woman’s car that was parked illegally.

“She said I’m calling the police, you’re harassing me. I said go right ahead, so she ended up getting a ticket, which felt really good,” Rowen said to WTSP.

The coffee chain also took issue with Rowen’s plead for the disabled.

A local store manager allegedly sent him a letter indefinitely banning him from visiting Starbucks’ locations.

In the letter obtained by ABC News, the coffee chain detailed Rowen’s behaviour as, “causing disruption to business” and “threatening the well-being of a customer or partner (employee).”

Customers banned around Rowen in support, many praising him for raising awareness to an issue often overlooked.







Rowen maintained that he would comply with the company’s ban but would not rest in raising awareness to protecting the disabled and providing them with more options.

However, the company reversed its decision on the matter in only a couple of days after receiving major backlash from customers on social media. Rowen is now permitted to visit all Starbucks stores. 

“Mr. Rowen is welcome at any of our stores and we will work with him to improve the parking situation at this store and create better awareness and understanding of of the parking issue,” a Starbucks spokesperson told ABC News on Sunday. 

A Starbucks spokesperson issued the following statement to Business Insider on the matter:

“We understand Mr. Rowen’s concerns. We have been speaking with him about this and have resolved the matter. Mr. Rowen is welcome in any of our stores. We will work with him to improve the parking situation at the store and create additional awareness and understanding of this important topic.”

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