KEY POINTS

  • Starbucks barista asks woman for a face mask as she orders
  • The woman berates him and posts the encounter on social media to shame him
  • An online fundraiser raises $80,000 in tips for the barista

A Starbucks barista has received nearly $80,000 in virtual tips after he was publicly shamed by a female customer for asking her to wear a face mask.

A GoFundMe campaign for Lenin Gutierrez, 24, was started by Matt Cowan after a post by the customer, Amber Lynn Gilles, went viral.

Gutierrez had asked Gilles if she had a face mask when she attempted to place an order during his shift at a San Diego Starbucks.

According to Gutierrez, Gilles allegedly gave him the finger and “started cursing up a storm” before he even had a chance to show her Starbucks company guidelines that required customers to wear one.

The guidelines issued by Starbucks were part of its social distancing campaign in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gilles took a photo of Gutierrez and posted it on Facebook in an attempt to shame him.

 “Next time I will wait for cops and bring a medical exemption,” she wrote.

The post backfired when it generated an outpouring of support for the barista.

In an interview with CNN, Gutierrez said he found the reaction to the post that “blasted” him amusing.

“I started reading the comments and just laughed at the memes people created about this 'encounter in the wild,’” he said.

Cowan, who does not know Gutierrez personally, started the online fundraiser to allow people who wanted to tip Gutierrez “who was being bullied for doing the right thing” a chance to do so.

The campaign’s initial goal of $1,000 was quickly surpassed and ballooned to $80,000 after thousands of donations.

Gutierrez expressed appreciation for Cowan’s kindness and said he planned to donate some of the money to charitable organizations in San Diego.

"I felt baffled and honored to receive so much support and love when it was at $1,000," Gutierrez told CNN. "The fact that now it went over $65,000, I don't know how to truly vocalize how grateful and blessed I feel with this opportunity everyone has given me."

The use of face masks in public continues to be recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help slow down the spread of the highly-contagious coronavirus disease.