Social media users have raised nearly $20,000 in tips for a Starbucks barista from San Diego who refused to serve a woman while she wasn’t wearing a mask.
The woman’s Facebook post backfired after she posted a photograph of the barista who had refused to serve her.
“Meet lenen [sic] from Starbucks who refused to serve me cause I’m not wearing a mask. Next time I will wait for cops and bring a medical exemption,” the woman’s Facebook post reads.
The post attracted more than 133,000 comments and 47,000 shares, with the vast majority of commenters offering their support to the barista.
“Then don’t go there,” one user wrote. “Didn’t you see the sign that said stupid people not allowed.”
Another commenter remarked: “Are you really crying cause you had to wear a mask for 10 minutes to get coffee then leave? Is it really that hard? Just wear the mask, get your coffee then take it off when you leave Karen, Jesus Christ.”
Soon enough, the Internet had identified the barista as Lenin Gutierrez, and Matt Cowan decided to set up a virtual tip jar for Gutierrez using GoFundMe.
“Raising money for Lenin for his honorable effort standing his ground when faced with a Karen in the wild,” the crowdfunding page reads.
The page quickly took off and has raised almost $20,000 for the barista as of the time of writing.
“You all are absolutely incredible,” Cowan wrote in an update. “Update from Lenin cause he wanted to say thank you to everyone. So you are all aware, he and I will be meeting in San Diego so that he can receive all the funds in person.”
After the GoFundMe took off, Gutierrez uploaded a video explaining his side of events. He says that the woman came in without a mask, he asked if she had one, to which she replied that she doesn’t need one.
Before Gutierrez could show her the guidelines Starbucks had given him, she again insisted that she didn’t need a mask and started “cussing up a storm.”
“She started calling people sheep and she left,” Gutierrez remarked. “Within a few minutes she came back and asked for my name, she took a photo of me and said ‘I’m calling corporate’ and started cussing some more at everyone and just left.”
Gutierrez said that before the quarantine, he taught dancing to children, and would be using the money to fund these “dreams.”
Cowan told media outlets that he was shocked by the response his effort had received.
“I set it at $1,000 thinking that was a reach but we would be lucky if we hit like $250 and when we hit $100 I was overwhelmed by that,” Cowan told 10 News. “Everybody is rallying around somebody for doing what they’re supposed to do and trying to protect everyone else. It just goes to show you there are a lot of good people out there and that outweighs the bad.”
San Diego County requires residents to wear a mask in most public settings, including when picking up food at a restaurant.
“We can’t expect law enforcement to make sure every person is wearing a face covering. But if you don’t wear one, you can be cited or not allowed into businesses, on transit or in other areas,” the county said.
Starbucks said in a statement: “We want everyone to feel welcome in our stores. We respectfully request customers follow social distancing and safety protocols recommended by public health officials, including wearing a facial covering when visiting our stores.”
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