Barista receives nearly 80k in tips after being publicly 'shamed' by customer who was asked to wear a mask
SAN DIEGO, California- The public came to the defense with tips and words of support for a 24-year-old Starbucks barista who was publicly shamed for asking a customer to wear a mask.
According to CNN, Lenin Gutierrez is the San Diego-based barista who received nearly $80,000 in virtual tips after a Facebook post that criticized him went viral.
Guitterez working his usual shift on a Monday morning when a woman -- who was not wearing a mask -- walked in and attempted to place an order.
Gutierrez asked her if she had a face mask -- but before he was even able to show her company guidelines requiring customers to wear one, the woman flipped him off and "started cursing up a storm," he said.
Then the customer, Amber Lynn Gilles, took a photo of him.
"Meet Lenen 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," Gilles wrote in her post, which was accompanied by a photo of Gutierrez wearing a face mask and looking at the camera.
Rather than generate more backlash toward Gutierrez, Gilles' Facebook post led to an outpouring of support for the barista.
"When I realized who it was I just thought 'wow, she really blasted me on Facebook,'" Gutierrez told reporters. "I started reading the comments and just laughed at the memes people created about this 'encounter in the wild."'
Many people voiced their support for Gutierrez in comments on Gilles' post, with some saying they wish they could visit the coffee shop to give him a special tip.
Among those moved by the post: Matt Cowan.
The 26-year-old, who doesn't know Gutierrez 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 named "Tips for Lenin Standing Up To A San Diego Karen," to give everyone who wanted to tip Gutierrez a chance to do so virtually.
"People aren't asking you to do a lot, they're asking you to wear a mask for your safety and the safety of others," Cowan told reporters. "Starbucks has also set up other ways to get coffee if you aren't comfortable wearing a mask."
The campaign's initial goal was $1,000 -- but less than a week later, thousands of people had donated nearly $80,000.
"I thought it was heartwarming to see Matt created a GoFundMe for me, even though we didn't know each other," Gutierrez said.
"I felt baffled and honored to receive so much support and love when it was at $1,000. The fact that now it went over $65,000, I don't know how to truly vocalize how grateful and blessed I feel with this opportunity everyone has given me."
Gutierrez said he plans to use some of the GoFundMe money to pursue his dreams of becoming a dancer. He also wants to donate to some organizations in the San Diego community.
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