Why This Starbucks Barista Got $36,000 In Tips

When Amber Lynn Gilles was refused service at a San Diego Starbucks for not wearing a mask, she put barista Lenin Gutierrez on blast, posting his picture on her Facebook feed. "Meet lenen [sic] from Starbucks who refused to serve me cause I'm not wearing a mask," she wrote. Instead of getting sympathy, the internet responded by sending Gutierrez more than $36,000 in tips as of this writing (via The Washington Post)

"Masks are stupid and so are the people wearing them," Gilles wrote in her post. This incited a flame war, with Facebook user Veila Acosta retorting, "I'd rather be 'dumb' with my mask on than smart with 'Rona" — a comment that received more than 600 reactions. 

One Facebook user who who stumbled upon Gilles' viral vent set up a Go Fund Me campaign, "Tips for Lenin Standing Up To A San Diego Karen." Even though he doesn't know Gutierrez personally, Matt Cowan lauded the young java server for his "honorable effort standing his ground when faced with a Karen in the wild." Donations reached $32,000 within three days of the campaign going live and have increased by hundreds every hour since. 

Starbucks barista shares his side of the story

Overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers — and also wanting to tell his side of the story — Lenin posted a Facebook video explaining his perspective on what happened that morning at the Genesee Avenue Starbucks. He said that Gilles had been "cursing up a storm" when he asked her if she had a mask. She threatened to contact Starbucks corporate and also called him a "sheep." Gutierrez appreciated the sympathy of people from all over the world who rallied to his defense, and also expressed gratitude for the donations, which he will use to make his dreams of being a dance teacher a reality. 

Cowan, meanwhile, is amazed that his campaign has generated so many donations.  "Everybody is rallying around somebody for doing what they're supposed to do and trying to protect everyone else," Cowan said in an interview with KGTV. "It just goes to show you there are a lot of good people out there and that outweighs the bad."

As for Gilles, she remains unmoved by the internet's support of Gutierrez. "I am not scarred [sic] r bothered by your ignorant fraud a****, not so sorry you losers got nothing better to do," she posted on Facebook.