A woman angrily posted on Facebook after a Starbucks barista insisted she had to wear a face mask to enter the coffeeshop. It didn’t go as planned.
Long story short, the woman — now, of course, dubbed a “Karen” by the internet — inspired folks to raised more than $36,000 for the young barista named Lenin Gutierrez, who was trying to do his job safely.
The original post from the woman, who goes by Amber Lynn Gilles on Facebook, threatened to call the cops the next time she went to the Starbucks in San Diego.
“Meet lenen [sic] from Starbucks who refused to serve me cause I’m not wearing a mask,” the post read. “Next time I will wait for cops and bring a medical exemption.”
People weren’t pleased that Giles went out of her way to insult the barista doing what’s required of him and lots of commenters called her out for bad behavior. (And, not for nothing, masks are an incredibly effective tool in fighting the spread of coronavirus despite protestations from a subset of the population.)
So, a man named Matt Cowan started a virtual tip jar for the barista on GoFundMe for Gutierrez. Cowan, who has said he doesn’t know the Starbucks employee, wrote on the fundraiser page it was “raising money for Gutierrez for his honorable effort standing his ground when faced with a Karen in the wild.”
As of this writing, it has racked up nearly $36,500 in donations.
“Everybody is rallying around somebody for doing what they’re supposed to do and trying to protect everyone else,” Cowan told local news station KGTV. “It just goes to show you there are a lot of good people out there and that outweighs the bad.”
Gutierrez, meanwhile, posted a video thanking everyone for their support and sharing his side of the story.
He said Gilles walked in without a mask and he asked her if she had a mask. When he tried to show her a paper with Starbucks’ mask requirement, Gutierrez said, she started “cursing up a storm” and later called everyone wearing masks “sheep.” She later photographed Gutierrez, asked for his name, and said she intended to call corporate.
“I thought that was going to be the end of it,” Gutierrez said in his video. “I didn’t know it was going to come to this.”
Gilles, for her part, has commented repeatedly on Facebook that she’s not backing down from her anti-mask stance.
“Masks are stupid and so are the people wearing them,” she wrote in one post.
Mashable has reached out to both Gilles and Gutierrez and will update the post if necessary.
Gutierrez is far from the only service industry worker who has had to deal with angry customers over mask requirements. It’s often left to these workers — many of whom are low-wage and effectively forced back into working — to enforce the rules and put themselves in harm’s way.