Starbucks Barista Gets $28,000 In ‘Tips’ After Refusing Woman Who Wouldn’t Wear Mask

by : Lucy Connolly on : 26 Jun 2020 12:23
starbucks employee gets massive tips after refusing to serve maskless customer 1<a href="https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fb&id=601056948"></a>

A Starbucks barista has been given $28,000 in ‘tips’ after he stood up to a woman who wouldn’t wear a mask in the store he works at, refusing to serve her unless she put one on.

A GoFundMe page set up for the Starbucks employee, identified as Lenin Gutierrez, has so far raised $27,943 from more than 2,000 donors since it was set up three days ago.


It comes after a picture of Lenin was shared on social media by the disgruntled customer, Amber Lynn Gilles, who complained about her visit to the Starbucks on Genesee Avenue in San Diego.

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Sharing a picture of Lenin equipped in his mask to Facebook, Gilles 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.’

In San Diego County, everyone is required to wear a mask while in public. However, there is a clause that says if a person has a health condition that prevents them from covering their face, they do not have to wear a mask.


When her post attracted thousands of comments – 133,000 and counting at the time of writing – with many supporting Lenin and criticising Gilles for her refusal to wear a mask, her response was: ‘Masks are stupid and so are the people wearing them.’ Her post has since been removed.

Amber Lynn Gilles/Facebook

Many of the comments were from people wanting to help Lenin out with a tip, which is where Matt Cowan comes in. Cowan, from Irvine, started the GoFundMe page after seeing these comments in support of Lenin after his encounter with Gilles.

‘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 told KGTV.


He said he was struck by the way people were ‘rallying around somebody for doing what they’re supposed to do and trying to protect everyone else’, adding: ‘It just goes to show you there are a lot of good people out there and that outweighs the bad.’

Cowan said he’s been increasing the goal amount each time he sees even more people have donated, and plans to hand-deliver the money to Lenin once the page calms down a bit.

starbucks barista thanks you for tipsGoFundMe

And it seems Lenin is more than grateful for the support, sharing a photo of him holding a sign that says: ‘Thank you everyone for the tips!!! Stay Safe.’


A spokesperson for Starbucks told KGTV in a statement that while the company wants ‘everyone to feel welcome’ at its locations, they ‘respectfully request customers follow social distancing and safety protocols recommended by public health officials, including wearing a facial covering when visiting our stores’.

Keep doing you, Lenin.

It’s okay to not panic about everything going on in the world right now. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization, click here.

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: News, America, Coronavirus, Face Masks, Health, Now, Starbucks, tips, US, Viral


Amber Lynn Gilles/Facebook and 2 others
  1. Amber Lynn Gilles/Facebook

    Amber Lynn Gilles

  2. GoFundMe

    Tips for Lenin Standing Up To A San Diego Karen

  3. KGTV

    GoFundMe started for San Diego barista after woman posts about not wearing mask at Starbucks