Lenin Gutierrez, 24, was working his usual shift at San Diego Starbucks on Monday morning when a woman – who was not wearing a mask – came in and tried to place an order, he told CNN.
Gutierrez asked her if she had a face mask – but before she could show the company’s instructions, which required customers to wear one, the woman turned to him and “a storm began to swear,” he said.
Then the customer, Amber Lynn Gilles, took a picture of him.
Gilles did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN.
Instead of provoking more reaction to Gutierrez, Gilles’ Facebook post really led to a burst of support for the barista.
“When I realized who he was, I just thought, ‘Wow, it really surprised me on Facebook,'” Gutierrez told CNN. “I started reading the comments and just laughed at the mimics people made about this ‘meeting in nature.’
A kind gesture that would change his life
Many people expressed their support for Gutierrez in comments about Gilles’ post, with some saying they wanted to visit the cafe to give him some special advice.
Among those posted by the post: Matt Cowan.
The 26-year-old, who does not know Gutierrez personally, said he was upset that the barrister was “intimidated to do the right thing”.
“People don’t ask you to do much, they ask you to wear a mask for your safety and the safety of others,” Cowan told CNN. “Starbucks has also created other ways to get coffee if you don’t feel comfortable wearing a mask.”
The original goal of the campaign was $ 1,000 – but less than a week later, thousands of people had donated nearly $ 80,000.
“I thought it was moving to see Matt create a GoFundMe for me, even though we didn’t know each other,” Gutierrez said.
“I was embarrassed and honored to have so much support and love when it was $ 1,000. The fact that it’s now over $ 65,000, I don’t know how to really shout how grateful and blessed I feel at this opportunity that everyone has given me. “
Gutierrez said he plans to use some of GoFundMe’s money to pursue his dreams of becoming a dancer. He also wants to donate to some organizations in the San Diego community.
Covid cases continue to increase
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reported a 5,972-day increase in coronavirus cases, with 60 deaths from Friday to Saturday, according to an update released Saturday morning.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone “wear a face mask with a cloth when they need to go out in public” to reduce transmission and slow down the spread of coronavirus, which is highly contagious.
A San Diego County spokeswoman told CNN that businesses decide if they want to serve customers who don’t wear face masks and can choose to accommodate them with orders or booking service.
According to Starbucks, many sites – depending on local orders – allow customers who are not wearing masks to order a car or use a mobile order and pay to pick up their order through the front door. They can also order delivery.
“We all want to feel welcome in our stores,” a Starbucks spokesman told CNN. “We respectfully ask customers to follow social distance and safety protocols recommended by public health officials, including the use of a face mask when visiting our stores.”
Andrea Kane, Allen Kim, Artemis Moshtaghian, Jamie Ehrlich, Alison Main and Rebecca Grandahl of CNN contributed to this exhibition.