$65,000 Raised for California Starbucks Barista After Woman Complained About Him Telling Her to Wear a Mask

A Starbucks barista in San Diego has more than $65,000 to fuel his dream of teaching dance after an online fund-raiser was created in response to a Facebook post by a customer who was not wearing a mask complaining about him and the company’s policies.

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

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

In a Facebook video, Mr. Gutierrez said he would use the money to teach dance.
Credit…Lenin Gutierrez

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

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

The photo Ms. Gilles took was posted on her Facebook page with the comment: “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.” She expressed doubt about masks, saying they were “stupid and so are the people wearing them.”

The post got more than 110,000 likes and reactions, 133,000 comments and 49,000 shares, but it also ignited a firestorm that led to thousands of dollars for Mr. Gutierrez from more than 5,000 donors through a GoFundMe campaign.

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SOURCE: New York Times, Christina Morales