SAN DIEGO — A San Diego Starbucks employee who recently gained viral fame got a special delivery this week – more than $100,000 in donations from a GoFundMe campaign.
According to KNSD, barista Lenin Gutierrez, 24, made headlines last month when a customer, Amber Lynn Gilles, posted his photo on social media, complaining that he had refused to serve her because she wasn't wearing a face mask.
"Meet lenen (sic) from Starbucks who refused to serve me cause I'm not wearing a mask," she captioned the photo on Facebook. "Next time I will wait for cops and bring a medical exemption."
But her post appeared to backfire, with many people pointing out that the barista, later identified as Gutierrez, had been complying with a San Diego County public health order requiring masks inside businesses, KNSD reported.
A crowdfunding campaign quickly emerged for Gutierrez.
"Raising money for Lenin for his honorable effort standing his ground when faced with a Karen in the wild," organizer Matt Cowan wrote in the description of the GoFundMe campaign, which eventually raised more than $105,000.
"Thank you so much," Gutierrez said in the video, which has been viewed more than 11,000 times on YouTube. "This is so mind-blowing right now. I've never seen anything like this except in the movies."
Gutierrez, a dancer who taught children before the coronavirus pandemic forced lockdowns, said he will use the donated funds to further his career as a dance instructor, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Late last month, Gilles, 35, told KNSD that she is considering suing Cowan, claiming he slandered and defamed her. She also claimed that she has received "thousands" of death threats and deserves some of the cash donated to Gutierrez, the news outlet reported.