Meet the Starbucks Barista who earned $80,000 in tips after refusing to serve customer not wearing a mask

Image Source: Lenin Gutierrez

The coronavirus pandemic is raging and shows no signs of abating: cases all across the world have seen a steady, and on some days, even a significant increase. Scientists and researchers across the world have consistently recommended that wearing masks is a way of reducing the spread of the virus. However, despite the strong word from the medical community, there is still a debate on this issue, with some sections of the society refusing stubbornly to wear masks.

This was exactly what happened in a Starbucks store in San Diego recently.

Lenin Gutierrez, 24, was working his regular shift as a barista at Starbucks, when a customer, Amber Lynn Gilles stepped in to place an order for coffee. She was not wearing a mask and Gutierrez, as per company policy, asked her whether she had one.

Before Gutierrez could show her the company mandates that require all customers to wear masks, Gilles “started cursing up a storm,” he said. She also took his photograph, and soon enough, put up a post on Facebook describing her experience.

“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 wrote on her Facebook page that showed Lenin wearing a mask at the coffee shop.

Now, what followed was absolute chaos.

Rather than receiving sympathies from netizens, Gilles faced massive backlash. Also, a huge outpouring of support came in for the barista, Lenin. Many people expressed their vociferous approval for Lenin and many other said that they wanted to visit the coffee shop personally to give him a tip.

“When I realized who it was I just thought ‘wow, she really blasted me on Facebook,'” Gutierrez told CNN. “I started reading the comments and just laughed at the memes people created about this ‘encounter in the wild.”‘

One of those who was particularly impressed by Lenin was 26-year-old Matt Cowan, who does not know Lenin personally. However, so impressed was he with the barista’s effort that he started a GoFundMe page called “Tips for Lenin Standing Up To A San Diego Karen.” Using this page, people could tip Lenin online.

Isn’t this just an amazing gesture?

And while the initial goal of the page was to raise about $1,000, thousands have donated close to $90,000 for Lenin for standing up to do the right thing.

“I thought it was heartwarming to see Matt created a GoFundMe for me, even though we didn’t know each other,” Gutierrez said.

And what would Lenin plan to do with the unexpected money? He plans to use a portion of it to follow his dream of becoming a dancer! He also plans to donate some portion of it to organizations based out of San Diego.

Isn’t this a beautiful reminder that doing the right thing pays? Wear a mask, and save lives!

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