A Starbucks customer looking to try the chain’s latest trending drink got a little more than she bargained for when she realized she was exhibiting a key COVID-19 symptom at the drive-thru.
Maryn Short, a 19-year-old Louisiana native, says she came to the startling realization while filming a video of herself reviewing a custom Starbucks drink, which she learned about while browsing TikTok.
“I was super excited to try this iced coffee because it was pretty affordable considering the size of it, and I love anything caramel,” the college sophomore told In The Know.
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She kicked off her ill-fated trip with a Starbucks mobile order — a Venti ice coffee with light ice, five pumps of vanilla syrup, three pumps of caramel, a caramel drizzle, a splash of heavy cream and whipped cream — before accidentally traveling to the wrong franchise location to pick it up, she explained in a Nov. 30 TikTok.
After Short rerouted to the correct Starbucks drive-thru, she picked up her custom drink and was ready to give it a try.
However, she was disappointed after taking the first sip of the sugary drink, namely because she couldn’t really taste the flavor. Then, she realized what was happening — she couldn’t really taste anything.
“This has no flavor…” Short says while sipping the coffee in her TikTok, which has since been viewed over 4.1 million times.
Sipping it again, she says aloud, “Why can’t I taste it … do I have COVID!?”
Short told In The Know that at first, she thought the Starbucks barista might have messed up the ingredients in her order, causing it to taste like plain cream rather than caramel.
“I thought maybe the barista put too much heavy cream in it,” she said. “But when I tasted it the second time, it hit me that maybe this is more serious than I originally thought. That morning I woke up with a stuffy nose, but just assumed it was nothing more than seasonal allergies.”
After posting her now-viral video, Short says she called her mom, who agreed she should be tested for COVID-19, and then contacted her places of employment to inform them she would not be able to work until she was cleared.
“That night, I scheduled an appointment at CVS to take a lab send-off test,” she said. “After taking that test, I decided to also get a rapid test at a local clinic because I was too anxious to wait for the results. Both came back positive.”
Short immediately began quarantining, as her doctor ordered. Thankfully, temporary loss of taste and a bit of congestion were the extent of her COVID-19 symptoms and, following her isolation, she was even invited back to the same Starbucks to try the infamous iced coffee again.
This time, it went a lot better.
“I was actually contacted by the district manager of the Starbucks near me and he was the one that asked me to come back to their location for a complimentary drink!” she told In The Know. “It was really nice of them and I am grateful they were so understanding.”
In another TikTok, she shared her thoughts on the beverage — which she rated a 9/10 — and thanked the baristas who served her up a few extra treats for her struggles, including a stuffed “bearista.”
“I’ve talked to many of the baristas at that location and they’re all sweethearts,” Short told In The Know. “They said they were glad to have me back and even gave me a little gift card. The drink itself was really good and I’ll definitely be getting it again.”
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