Starbucks barista receives more than $20k in tips after refusing service to customer not wearing a mask

'We are proud of what you stood up for'

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Friday 26 June 2020 13:56
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Starbucks barista thanks people who donated to GoFundMe after he refused customer not wearing mask

A Starbucks employee has received more than $20,000 in tips via a GoFundMe after refusing to serve a customer who wasn’t wearing a mask.

Earlier this week, Amber Lynn Gilles from San Diego, California, shared a photo to Facebook of Starbucks barista Lenin Gutierrez, where she berated him after he declined to serve her because she was not wearing a face covering amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Meet Lenen (sic) from Starbucks who refused to serve me cause I’m not wearing a mask,” Gilles captioned the photo, which has since been shared more than 47,000 times. “Next time I will wait for cops and bring a medical exemption.”

But, rather than commiserating with Gilles, thousands of people have come to Gutierrez’s defence after the post went viral.

Among those defending Gutierrez’s decision not to serve Gilles because she was not wearing a mask - which defies the county’s guidelines - was Matt Cowan, who set up a GoFundMe page to thank the barista.

“Raising money for Lenin for his honourable effort standing his ground when faced with a Karen in the wild,” Cowan wrote in the description of the GoFundMe.

As of Thursday, the crowdfunding page, which Cowan described as a “virtual tip jar” for Gutierrez, has surpassed its $20,000 goal.

“All tips will be brought directly to the Starbucks location where Lenin works and given to him directly,” Cowan confirmed on GoFundMe.

On Wednesday, Gutierrez expressed his gratitude for “all the love and support” in a Facebook video.

“It’s been so helpful and so shocking to see something get so big that only happened within a few minutes,” Gutierrez said, before taking the opportunity to share his version of events.

According to Gutierrez, he was working the front register when Gilles came in without a face mask. After asking her if she had a face mask, Gutierrez said she responded that she didn’t need one before proceeding to curse at him and call the other patrons “sheep”.

Gutierrez then recalled that Gilles left briefly before coming back and asking him his name, at which point she took his picture and threatened to “call corporate”.

In regards to the donations he’s received, Gutierrez said that they will allow him to again pursue his dream of dancing and teaching dance to children - which was put on hold when the coronavirus pandemic began.

“From the bottom of my heart thank you so much, it is just amazing to see that I can actually make these dreams pursuing more into dance a thing now,” he concluded. “Thank you so much for it.”

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