San Diego Starbucks worker who refused to serve ‘Karen’ for not wearing mask rewarded with over $35K in 'tips'

San Diego Starbucks worker who refused to serve ‘Karen’ for not wearing mask rewarded with over $35K in 'tips'

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA: A Starbucks worker has received more than $35,000 in donations after he refused to serve a San Diego ‘Karen’ for not wearing a mask. Lenin Gutierrez will get the amount after a GoFundMe page created for him had raised $35,578 from more than 2,000 donors as of Friday, June 26. The fundraiser page is called, 'Tips for Lenin Standing Up To A San Diego Karen.'

“Raising money for Lenin for his honorable effort standing his ground when faced with a Karen in the wild,” Matt Cowan, who has organized the fundraiser, wrote on the site while using the word ‘Karen’ for the woman whom Gutierrez refused to serve. ‘Karen’ is a term used for a white middle-aged woman throwing her privilege around.

Cowan of Irvine said that he started the fundraiser after seeing supportive comments for Gutierrez on a Facebook post that was shared by Amber Lynn Gilles. Gilles had tried to shame the barista through her post complaining that she was not served at a Starbucks on Genesee Avenue in San Diego because she had not covered her mouth.

“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 said, adding: “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.”

This comes after Gilles’ June 22 Facebook post went viral that included a photo of Gutierrez wearing a mask. In the post, the woman wrote: “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 post has been shared more than 45,000 times with hundreds of thousands of comments. One user slammed Gilles and said, “You are a privileged mess. It’s almost satire how incredibly aloof you seem.”


“Imagine photographing someone who makes minimum wage because you won’t comply with the rules a private business and the state of California set up. Call the cops all you want, but there’s literally nothing they can do for you, Karen. Also, this is creepy as hell. Get a grip,” added another one.

While a third social media user commented: “I hate the whole mask thing, but I don't blame the kid behind the counter. They need to follow the rules that they are given by their supervisors... supervisors don’t want to get in trouble either.”

Meanwhile, a representative for Starbucks released a statement that read: “We want everyone to feel welcome in our stores. We respectfully request customers to follow social distancing and safety protocols recommended by public health officials, including wearing a facial covering when visiting our stores.”

On June 24, Gutierrez also shared a video on his Facebook page thanking those who made the donations and also sharing his side of the story on the interaction with Gilles. In the video, he said Gilles “flicked him off” and started “cursing up a storm” after he refused to serve her. Gutierrez said she briefly left before returning to the coffee shop to take a picture of him and threatening to call Starbucks corporate.


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