A Starbucks barista received nearly $ 80,000 in tips after being singled out for refusing to serve a customer who doesn’t wear a mask

Lenin Gutierrez, 24, was working his usual shift at a San Diego Starbucks on Monday morning when a woman, who was not wearing a mask, came in and tried to place an order, she told CNN.

Gutiérrez asked him if he had a face mask, but before he could show her his company’s guidelines that required customers to wear one, the woman turned it down and “started cursing a storm.”

Then the client, Amber Lynn Gilles, took her photo.

“I know Starbucks’ Lenen who refused to serve me because I am not wearing a mask. Next time I will wait for the cops and bring a medical exemption,” Gilles wrote in his post, which was accompanied by a photo of Gutierrez with a mask face. and looking at the camera.

Gilles did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Rather than generating more reaction towards Gutiérrez, Gilles’ Facebook post actually led to a great deal of support for the barista.

“When I realized who he was, I thought, ‘Wow, he really criticized me on Facebook,'” Gutiérrez told CNN. “I started reading the comments and laughed at the memes people created about this’ encounter in nature.” “

A kind gesture that would change his life.

Many people expressed their support for Gutiérrez in comments on Gilles’ post, with some saying they wish they could visit the cafeteria to give him special advice.

Among those moved by the post: Matt Cowan.

The 26-year-old, who does not know Gutiérrez personally, said he was upset that the barista “was being bullied for doing the right thing.”

So he decided to start a GoFundMe, which he called “Tips for Lenin to Tackle a Karen from San Diego,” to give everyone who wants to tip Gutierrez the opportunity to do so virtually.

“People don’t ask him to do much, they ask him to wear a mask for his safety and the safety of others,” Cowan told CNN. “Starbucks has also established other ways to get coffee if you’re not comfortable wearing a mask.”

The initial campaign goal was $ 1,000, but less than a week later, thousands of people had donated nearly $ 80,000.

“I thought it was moving to see Matt create a GoFundMe for me, even though we didn’t know each other,” said Gutierrez.

“I was puzzled and honored to receive so much support and love when it was $ 1,000. The fact that it now exceeded $ 65,000, I don’t know how to really express how grateful and blessed I am to this opportunity that everyone has given me.” .

Gutiérrez said he plans to use some of the GoFundMe money to pursue his dreams of becoming a dancer. She also wants to donate to some organizations in the San Diego community.

Covid cases continue to rise

As Covid-19 cases continue to rise in the United States, the debate continues as to whether people should be required to wear masks in public.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reported a one-day increase of 5,972 positive cases of coronavirus, with 60 deaths Friday through Saturday, according to an update released Saturday morning.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone “wear a cloth face covering when they have to go out in public” to reduce transmission and delay the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus.

A recent study published in early June found that the coronavirus is spread primarily through airborne transmission, and wearing a mask is the most effective way to stop the spread from person to person.
The team of researchers calculated that the use of face masks prevented more than 78,000 infections in Italy between April 6 and May 9, and more than 66,000 infections in New York City between April 17 and May 9. .
But some argue that the act of wearing a mask is political, and that wearing one infringes on your civil liberties.
President Donald Trump recently told The Wall Street Journal that the masks are “a double-edged sword” and suggested that the masks be used as a political statement, rather than a health precaution, to show disapproval.
Trump's self-defeating resistance to wearing masks says it all
California has a state face-covering rule that requires people to wear a mask anywhere they are within six feet of others. People with medical conditions who cannot wear masks are exempt from wearing a face mask.

A San Diego County spokesperson told CNN that companies determine if they want to serve customers who don’t wear face masks and can choose to accommodate them with take-away orders or sidewalk service.

According to Starbucks, many locations, depending on local mandates, allow customers who do not wear masks to order at the drive-thru or use mobile order and pay to pick up their order at the front door. They can also order delivery.

“We want everyone to feel welcome in our stores,” a Starbucks spokesperson told CNN in a statement. “We respectfully ask customers to follow the safety and social distancing protocols recommended by public health officials, including the use of facial covering when they visit our stores.”

CNN’s Andrea Kane, Allen Kim, Artemis Moshtaghian, Jamie Ehrlich, Alison Main and Rebecca Grandahl contributed to this report.