A Starbucks client’s Facebook post saying he was denied service because he wasn’t wearing a mask ended up garnering massive support and nearly $ 30,000 for the barista who was trying to defame.
Amber Lynn Gilles posted a photo of the Starbucks barista on Monday with the caption: “You meet Lenen from Starbucks who refused to serve me because I am not wearing a mask. Next time I will wait for the cops and bring me a medical exemption.”
Negative comments started coming immediately. Some were patient and explained to Gilles that Starbucks employees simply follow protocol, while others were less friendly. Gilles fed the commentators by responding to some of them. “Masks are stupid and so are the people who wear them,” he wrote in one of those posts.
As of Friday, Gilles’ complaint had been commented on 133,000 times and shared nearly 50,000 times. Many asked how they could send tips to the barista, whose name is Lenin Gutiérrez.
So Matt Cowan, who said he doesn’t know Gilles or Gutiérrez, started a GoFundMe to send virtual advice to the young barista. By Friday morning, he had raised more than $ 30,000.
Gutiérrez expressed his gratitude both on the GoFundMe page and on his own personal Facebook page.
“I just wanted to thank you for all the love and support and what everyone is doing is an honor to see all of this happen, but I just wanted to remind everyone to be kind to each other, to love each other and to always remember to wear a mask.” he said in a video posted on GoFundMe.
In a Facebook video, she added that she planned to use the money to pursue her dream of teaching dance to young people, hoping that art would change their lives in the same way that it changed theirs.
He also detailed his account of the incident with Gilles on Monday.
“I was helping customers through, and this lady showed up, she had no face mask. I asked ‘do you have a face mask?’ And she said “no.” She said, “I don’t need one.” And I was going to show her the document that we have provided her saying that we need face masks but that we can still help, but before we can say anything, she gives me a yanks and says, ‘No, I don’t need one, “and she starts cursing a storm.”
He said Gilles called the other customers “sheep” before leaving. He then returned to take a photo of him, saying that he was going to report him to the company and cursing more.
Starbucks did not immediately respond to email requests for comment.
San Diego County requires people to wear face masks in public places.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “recommend using cloth face covers in public places where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain” because “the virus can spread among people who interact very closely, for example, talking, coughing or sneeze, even if those people have no symptoms. “
But Gilles, who has three children and considers himself anti-vaxxer, said he does not believe the face masks are effective, NBC San Diego reported.
“It starts with coffee, but it ends with digital certificates and forced vaccinations,” he told the store.
Gilles added that he has been receiving threats since its publication. She did not respond to a request for additional comment on Friday.
Cowan, who started the viral GoFundMe, told NBC News that he launched the page so that his friends could donate to Gutiérrez, whom he found on Facebook.
He said he set the original goal at $ 1,000 and thought it was a “reach,” adding that he was “very happy” when donations reached $ 100 for a person he has admired.
“Since I started GoFundMe, Lenin and I have talked every day,” said Cowan. “We have talked by video chat about everything that is happening. He is truly one of the most humble people I have ever met and he is very kind and caring.”