Mum's thanks after Starbucks staff help diabetic teen in moment of need

phoebe rose

Phoebe Rose, 13, was helped by Starbucks staff during a moment of need. - Credit: Lisa Andrews

A mum has thanked members of staff at a Starbucks who leapt to the aid of her diabetic teenage daughter when she was having a hypo episode.

Phoebe Rose, 13, lives in Beccles and has type one diabetes which means her body can not produce enough of the hormone called insulin which controls blood glucose.

Phoebe was out for a walk on April 11 but had forgotten to take her phone, her insulin and all her diabetic treatments.

starbucks beccles

The Starbucks branch has only recently been completed and opened up. - Credit: Mick Howes

She was stood outside the new Starbucks branch which has recently been built in Gillingham, Norfolk, just outside Beccles.

When staff members on shift at the time recognised Phoebe was having a hypo episode they quickly jumped into action.

Phoebe's mum, Lisa Andrews, was sat worried at home and launched a search party when she realised Phoebe had not returned home in a while.

lisa phoebe

Lisa and daughter Phoebe. - Credit: Lisa Andrews

She said: "Phoebe is naturally a headstrong teenager and went out for a walk without her phone, medication and treatments.

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"Naturally as her mum I was very worried so organised a search party to try and find her and I stayed at home in case she returned.

"A little while later she returned in an ambulance with the paramedics and they explained what had happened.

"Phoebe was stood outside the Starbucks branch in Gillingham and staff recognised she was having a hypo episode.

"The general manager Maria List took her in and gave her some free sweet food which meant Phoebe's blood sugar levels returned to normal."

Miss Andrews said she was grateful to members of staff for spotting the signs that something was wrong with her daughter.

She added she wanted to take this opportunity to raise awareness about type 1 diabetes and the symptoms. 

"If the staff had not realised Phoebe was having an episode this could have been very serious and even potentially fatal.

"I just want to say a massive thank you to Maria List - she is one of life's lovely people.

"I gave her some flowers as a thanks for all her help.

"I even asked to pay for the food that Phoebe had eaten but they weren't having any of it and it was all free of charge."

A spokesperson for Starbucks said: “We would like to commend Maria and all partners (employees) at our Beccles store who ensured that Phoebe was supported throughout this difficult incident, and on behalf of the team, we would like to wish Phoebe a safe and speedy recovery.

"We take great pride in providing a warm and welcoming environment for everyone in our stores and we recognise the continued work hard from all our partners to ensure every customer feels fully supported throughout their Starbucks Experience.”

How to spot someone having a hypo episode

According to the NHS, signs to look out for when someone is having a hypo episode include:

  • sweating
  • feeling tired
  • dizziness
  • feeling hungry
  • tingling lips
  • feeling shaky or trembling
  • a fast or pounding heartbeat (palpitations)
  • becoming easily irritated, tearful, anxious or moody
  • turning pale

If a low blood sugar level is not treated, other symptoms to look out for in people can include:

  • weakness
  • blurred vision
  • confusion or difficulty concentrating
  • unusual behaviour, slurred speech or clumsiness (like being drunk)
  • feeling sleepy
  • seizures or fits
  • collapsing or passing out

A low blood sugar level, or hypo, can also happen while people are sleeping. This may cause them to wake up during the night or cause headaches, tiredness or damp sheets (from sweat) in the morning.

If people see someone having a hypo attack the advice is to feed them sugary food or drinks if they are still conscious and wait 10 minutes for their blood sugar levels to return to normal.

If the person who is having a hypo attack has lost consciousness then call 999 and ask for an ambulance.