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Maskless Woman, Claiming Discrimination, Demands Cut of $100K That People Donated to a Barista


A woman in San Diego, California wants half of the $100,000 “tip” a Starbucks barista got through GoFundMe after he told her to wear a mask.

“It was discrimination and everybody is OK with it and enabling and rewarding that behavior,” Amber Lynn Gilles told KGTV.

Let’s start from the top. Last month, Gilles went to a local Starbucks, where barista Lenin Gutierrez told her to wear a mask. She complained about this on social media, posting a picture of him and writing up a critical post.

“Meet lenen from Starbucks who refused to serve me cause I’m not wearing a mask,” she wrote. “Next time I will wait for cops and bring a medical exemption.”

This post did not seem to have the intended effect.

Orange County man Matt Cowan wanted to support Gutierrez, and started a GoFundMe to tip the Starbucks barista.

“All of you are so incredible. We hit our $1,000 goal for Lenin. I’ve gone ahead and increased the goal!” Cowan wrote in a June 23 update, later wondering if they could hit a follow-up goal of $5,000.

They ended up raising $105,450.

Gilles wants half, claiming she was discriminated against on the basis of her medical condition. She asserted she had a medical exemption from wearing a mask. She gave KGTV a 2015 document from a pelvic exam, saying she had an ovarian cyst, and a “probable exophytic fibroid arising from the anterior wall of the uterus measuring 2.9 cm size.”

Another document was from a San Diego chiropractor who wrote that she had “underlying breath conditions” that made it so she couldn’t wear a mask or facial covering.

“Please contact me if [you] have any questions,” the letter stated. The chiropractor said he couldn’t talk about her condition when the outlet reached him on the phone. He was not named in the article; Gilles asked that he not be identified.

The outlet asked why a chiropractor would give her a medical exemption based on her breathing. She answered that they “are dedicated to providing non-invasive personalized care and treatment. They are real doctors.”

She said she had spoken to attorneys about her case, and started a GoFundMe because they’re expensive. Gilles had no apology for Gutierrez.

“I feel like I need the apology,” she said. “I’ve been discriminated against, I’m the one who’s sick.”

Cowan and exotic car YouTuber Will Collette delivered the cash to Gutierrez in a video published July 7. Gutierrez, who was teaching kids dance before the state’s stay-at-home order, planned on using the money for support as he becomes a dancer and instructor.

“What I want to say to everybody is honestly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for giving me this opportunity,” he said in the Collette video. “And as I said before that I’m going to show you that I’m going to go as far as I can with this, and accomplish my goals now. Because they’re no longer dreams. You guys made them goals, and now I can actually grasp it. I’m just going to show through respect–because you guys believed in me–that I will accomplish this. So thank you so much.”

[screengrab of Gutierrez via Will Collette]

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