For two days now, East Passyunk's B2 Café has been under the South Philly heat lamp, and it all started with a Facebook check-in by South Philly resident Francesca Depasquale and her daughter Vienna, suffering from Leukemia:
Soooooooo I'm in b2 on passyunk and Dickinson with my sister and friend enjoying a ice coffee and Vienna is playing on...Posted by Francesca Depasquale on Tuesday, February 9, 2016
This then led to a Yelp confirmation by a friend, and consequently avalanched into a slew of Yelpers coming to the defense of Depasquale, many of whom cite the incident as a "last straw" of sorts:
B2 owner Nancy Trachtenberg took to Facebook to defend the barista, posting a 6-second video recording of the incident that transpired:
B2 Cafe respectfully submits this video clip for your review. We hope that this clarifies to the public that nothing rude or unprofessional transpired yesterday. Please note that the interaction was less than 2 seconds and that the employee touched nothing. Please feel free to direct any further questions to me, should any details need clarification.Posted by B2 Cafe on Wednesday, February 10, 2016
The video now has close to 700 comments, some of which are aimed at Depasquale and her three year old daughter ranging from "I'll come here more often if you promise to keep entitled asshole customers and their annoying children in check." to "Oh so sorry, was her make a wish to annoy everyone around her? Cancer isn't a behavioral disorder."
There are also a fair share of commenters on team B2. Comments range from "The customer is not always right. Most of the time the customer is an asshole. I'm going to support this local business based solely on the fact that they stood up to you hive-minded sheep." to a picture of a Trump jet crashing into the Twin Towers.
A quick jaunt through the video's comment section reveals a few people claiming conspiracy — video editing, because according to the video, the barista never grabs the phone. But Depasquale stands by it, "That's the way I feel, because my daughter had the phone in her hand, I look up and all of a sudden the lady's hand reached in, my phone was face down, and she's in my daughter's face."
So Trachtenberg privately shared a longer video clip showing 25 seconds before the barista crosses the counter, and then after the incident, when a member of the seated party (Francesca's sister) gets up to initiate a rather heated looking conversation with the barista — still no phone grabbing in sight, despite maybe being an angle unflattering to the accusation.
But here's where it gets a little nutty:
Trachtenberg sent Eater a second video that took place a few hours later. While the barista and her coworker (a male employee) were closing up shop, a new woman storms into the café, speaks briefly with the male employee behind the counter, sees the barista (in the pink cat sweatshirt) cleaning with bleach spray, rips the bottle out of her hand, and mouths off, "I'll spray you in the fucking eyes and kill you," among other indiscernible threats. Tractenberg says the threats were related to the earlier incident (you can hear the belligerent woman scream the words "three year old" as she's being escorted outside), but Depasquale claims to know nothing of it. "We're not ghetto, there's not a ghetto bone in our body. My sister can't fight her way out of a paper bag."
According to Depasquale, she and Trachtenberg also had a conversation on the day following the incident:
I explained to her what happened, and I said, do you have cameras? She said yes. And I said, 'Do you see your employee in my daughter's face?' And she said, "Well I don't believe we have to apologize for anything.' I said, 'Oh so it's okay for your employees to get in my three year old's face?' She said, 'You can take your daughter and your phone and go to another café because we don't need you here.' And I said, 'I don't need you, but I don't need someone getting in my daughter's face. If it was a problem, nicely just say to me 'please lower your music', like anything, just don't get in my daughter's face. She's got enough going on, she's already scared to death of life."
While Trachtenberg recounts:
"They employed a conference call with me, this woman and Francesca all on the phone together, and they started yelling at me in tandem, so I literally could not understand anything that was happening because there were two people yelling in my ear at once. And I kept shouting back 'you guys cannot talk over each other, I can't understand what you are saying.' And they would not stop, so finally, I was like this is crazy, and I hung up."
Depasquale claims to be done with it, finding solace in karma, while Trachtenberg says, "We are just going to keep doing what we do, which is serving coffee to the Philadelphia community seven days a week. My employee was just trying to maintain the environment of B2 as I deem it to be. She was just doing her job."