By JULES VIVAS
Lenin Gutierrez worked his normal shift at a San Diego Starbucks on June 22, when yoga instructor Amber Lynn Gilles tried to make an order even though she wasn’t wearing the most basic and standard PPE—a face mask. Naturally, Amber was denied service since Lenin had to follow quarantine protocols under the California mandate for face masks. The following day, Amber attempted to publicly shame Lenin by posting on Facebook what had happened in the coffee shop. Instead of generating backlash for Lenin, the rant online only led to an outpouring of support for the 24-year-old barista instead.
Lenin Gutierrez (photo from Amber Lynn Gilles Facebook account)
Take note that the self-described activist profusely cursed Lenin during the encounter, which she firmly describes as a form of “discrimination.”
“I never threatened him.” Hear from woman who was denied service at a Clairemont Starbucks for refusing to wear a mask. She publically shamed the barista. A Go Fund Me Page on his behalf is now over $22,000. She says she’s getting death threats. #nbc7 & https://t.co/ylvk5rP6Vf pic.twitter.com/gCREw0LR5V
— Artie Ojeda (@ArtieNBCSD) June 25, 2020
26-year-old Matt Cowan was dismayed about the situation, and admired Lenin for doing the right thing even though he was being bullied. Matt started a GoFundMe named “Tips for Lenin Standing Up To A San Diego Karen,” as a form of reward and support for the barista. The campaign first raised a thousand US dollars, but had already garnered $89,000 (around 4.3 million in Philippine peso) today.
On June 24, Lenin posted a video on Facebook to share his side of the story. He also conveyed gratitude toward the people who have supported him and donated in the GoFundMe, which he said will aid him in his aspiration to become a dancer.
“Thank you for all the love and support. It’s been so helpful and so shocking to see something get so big that only happened within a few minutes,” he mentions in the video outlining the incident.
Aside from the cash donations, netizens also expressed praises and support for Lenin online.
kudos to this young man for being a gracious Barista at Starbucks. It is ironic that one lady's racism contributed $80,000 to this young man I love it I absolutely love ithttps://t.co/pX1FNv1r6E
— Tracy j Bogert (@j_bogert) June 29, 2020
Good for him! He wasn’t intimidated by a bully and he did the right thing! We need more people like Lenin ❤️ https://t.co/ZOEkXVVYjm
— Storm14nu (@Storm14nu) June 27, 2020
Hi Lenen. Nice to meet you brother. 😂❤✊🏽
Like what did she think? 🤣 pic.twitter.com/rb3W8A1TtK
— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) June 24, 2020
Props to Lenin for doing his job! He and other retail/service workers who deal with these monsters deserve an award 👏
— Katx (@katx_404) June 23, 2020