Starbucks Barista receives $ 65,000 in donations after customer mask complaint

A Starbucks barista in San Diego has more than $ 65,000 to fuel his dream of teaching dance after an online fundraiser was created in response to a client who was not wearing a mask who complained on Facebook about the policies of the company and your interaction with it.

The barista, Lenin Gutiérrez, said in a Facebook video that he published on Wednesday that it had all started when he was working at the cash register and asked the client, Amber Lynn Gilles, if she had a face mask.

“No, I don’t need one,” Gilles told him, according to the video. She responded before he could show her a document explaining the company’s mask policy during the coronavirus pandemic.

He said she started “cursing a storm” and called people “sheep” before leaving. A few minutes later, she came back, he said, and asked her name, took a photo of her, and said she would call the corporate offices.

“I thought that would be the end,” said Gutierrez, who has worked at Starbucks since 2017. “I didn’t think it would come to this.”

The photo that Ms. Gilles took was posted on her Facebook page with the comment: “You know Lenen from Starbucks who refused to serve me because I am not wearing a mask. Next time I will wait for the police and present a medical exemption. “She expressed doubts about the masks, saying they were” stupid and so are the people who wear them. “

The post garnered more than 110,000 likes and reactions, 133,000 comments, and 49,000 actions, but it also ignited a firestorm that brought Gutierrez thousands of dollars from more than 5,000 donors through a GoFundMe campaign.

As of Saturday afternoon, the site reported more than $ 65,000 in donations. It was titled “Tips for Lenin to Face a San Diego Karen,” a term used to describe a white woman who is angry or feels entitled.

Credit…Lenin Gutierrez

Ms. Gilles said she was “denied and discriminated against” and that she had received “thousands” of death threats, according to a video on NBC7 in San Diego. “I didn’t harass anyone,” he said. “I called them because I am frustrated.”

Gutiérrez and Gilles could not be immediately contacted on Saturday.

Widely shared videos of customers discussing not wearing masks in stores show how resistance is not uncommon and how companies are trying to encourage compliance.

  • Updated June 24, 2020

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Starbucks said it had taken steps to keep employees and customers safe, including requesting that customers wear face covers in its stores. A Starbucks representative said Saturday that the company was complying with the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local mandates. Since May 1, San Diego County has required facial coatings in many public areas.

Gutiérrez said in his Facebook video that before the pandemic, he had taught children dance. Her Starbucks work has been a way to support her passions to keep dancing and teaching it, she said, adding that the thousands of dollars raised could make her ambition come true.

“That’s all I really want to do: be able to show the dance to others and show them how much I love it and how much it affected me,” he said. “And if I can show it to someone else, it would be amazing and it would change his life as if it changed mine.”