Over $50,000 raised for barista targeted by anti-mask customer

Daniel Fowler
June 29, 2020

"Meet lenen from Starbucks who refused to serve me cause I'm not wearing a mask".

Amber Lynn Gilles made a Facebook post about her experience at a Starbuck's in San Diego's Clairemont Mesa neighborhood yesterday at 10:38am and it now has has 71,000 likes, 96,000 comments and more than 33,000 shares. Most of the comments are in defense of Lenin.

When Amber Lynn Gilles expressed her indignation over a Starbucks worker's suggestion that she follow the company and county's public health mandate by wearing a face mask, she likely had no idea how profitable it would prove - for the barista she blasted.

That is when Matt Cowan, a male who does not know Guiterrez but stumbled upon the write-up, decide to start a digital tip jar on GoFundMe.

"Raising money for Lenin for his honorable effort standing his ground when faced with a Karen in the wild", Cowan wrote in the description of the page, referencing the widely-used "Karen" memes used to call out problematic women who ask to "speak to to the manager" or are otherwise perceived to be entitled. "And when we hit $100 I was overwhelmed by that", Cowan said.

"Everybody is rallying around somebody for doing what they're supposed to do and trying to protect everyone else", he told KGTV.

"I felt baffled and honoured to receive so much support and love when it was at $1000".

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A GoFundMe web page arrange for the Starbucks worker, recognized as Lenin Gutierrez, has raised greater than $21,029 from nearly 2,000 donors as of Thursday.

Local ordinances in San Diego County now require everyone to wear a mask in public to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

"When I realized who he was, I just thought, 'Wow, it really surprised me on Facebook, '" Gutierrez told CNN.

In a video response posted on Facebook Wednesday, 24-year-old barista Gutierrez shared his side of the story and thanked everyone who has donated to the GoFundMe campaign. "It just goes to show you there are a lot of good people out there and that outweighs the bad".

Gutierrez said that before he was able to explain to her Starbucks policy that all customers wear a mask in the store, he said she "flips me off and she starts cursing up a storm". People with medical conditions who can't wear masks are exempt from wearing a face covering. She also said she does not believe masks are effective.

Instead of getting sympathy, the internet responded by sending Gutierrez more than $36,000 in tips as of this writing (via The Washington Post). He was teaching dance to kids before the state's stay-at-home order was put in place in mid-March and said he'll use this money to help out toward the goal of teaching again. "The fact that now it went in excess of $65,000, I really don't know how to truly vocalize how grateful and blessed I feel with this possibility anyone has presented me".

Lenin shared a picture of him holding a sign that says, "Thank you everyone for the tips!"

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