In this installment of the ‘Karen Chronicles,’ a San Diego woman recently took to Facebook to criticize a Starbucks barista named Lenin who refused to ask her to wear a face mask.
But the snarky post backfired and resulted in over 1,300 social media peeps donating over $20,000 in tips to a GoFundMe campaign in less than two days.
“Meet lenen [sic] from Starbucks who refused to serve me cause I’m not wearing a mask,” read the caption for the photo. “Next time I will wait for cops and bring a medical exemption.”
Meet lenen from Starbucks who refused to serve me cause I’m not wearing a mask. Next time I will wait for cops and bring a medical exemption.
The post has been shared over 47,000 times and received over 133K comments which are overwhelmingly in support of young Lenin.
This probably isn’t what ‘Karen’ had in mind.
“Listen, Karen, if you can’t be bothered to wear a f**king mask for 10 minutes out of consideration for *other people* AND because it’s store policy, then you’re not only rude, you’re incredibly selfish,” wrote one commenter. “News flash: everything isn’t about you.”
“Being a Karen isn’t a medical exemption,” added another.
“You’re in the store for 10 minutes max to wait for coffee, not taking a trip to Mars for 6 months. If your condition is that bad then you are half dead already and should be having your coffee delivered to you in hospice!”
One person asked, “If you cannot wear a mask, why not go through the drive through?”
Another wrote, “Are you really crying cause you had to wear a mask for 10 minutes to get coffee then leave? Is it really that hard? Just wear the mask, get your coffee then take it off when you leave Karen, Jesus Christ.”
Several people noted that ‘Karen’ had shared many photos on Facebook in the past showing her wearing all kinds of masks – when she wanted to. “You wore all these masks,” wrote one poster.
One man wrote (with a healthy dose of sarcasm), “Hey, I saw your last post and I just wanted to reach out and make sure you were okay. Nobody should ever be subjected to a store’s clearly posted policy, and Lenen’s refusal to go against his employers strict wishes to make sure you weren’t triggered is beyond shameful. I’ve reserved your spot in the safe space, if there’s anything else I can do for you don’t hesitate to ask, you poor, broken, soul.”
The ‘Karen’ – who describes herself as a “mother, photographer, yoga instructor, activist, and artist” – tried to troll back, but failed in epic fashion. At one point, she could only muster a lame, “Masks are stupid and so are the people wearing them.”
Earlier in June, she had shared a meme that read, “I have a condition that prevents me from wearing a mask. It’s called intelligence.”
It’s worth noting that, during the coronavirus pandemic, face masks are mandated for everyone in California while in public unless they have a medical condition that prevents them from covering their face.
After internet sleuths identified the barista as Lenin Gutierrez, many expressed they wanted to tip Lenin for having to put up with the ‘Karen.’ And so, Matt Cowan decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $1,000.
Cowan told the local ABC News affiliate 10News, “I set it at $1,000 thinking that was a reach but we would be lucky if we hit like $250, and when we hit $100 I was overwhelmed by that.”
When the original goal was quickly reached, Cowan raised his target to $5,000, which was also surpassed in no time.
“You all are absolutely incredible,” wrote Cowan on the GoFundMe page. “Update from Lenin cause he wanted to say thank you to everyone. So you are all aware, he and I will be meeting in San Diego so that he can receive all the funds in person.”
Cowan also shared a photo of Lenin holding a sign which read, “Thank you everyone for the tips!!! Stay Safe.”
On Wednesday, Lenin posted a video message of thanks on his Facebook and shared his side of the incident.
Lenin says that when the woman came in without a mask, he asked if she had one, to which she replied that she doesn’t need one.
As he attempted to show her the official guidelines from Starbucks, she snapped back repeating she didn’t need a mask and began “cussing up a storm.”
“She started calling people ‘sheep’ and she left,” explained Gutierrez. “Within a few minutes she came back and asked for my name, she took a photo of me and said ‘I’m calling corporate’ and started cussing some more at everyone and just left.”
He added that he’s a dancer and before the coronavirus pandemic he’s shared his passion by teaching dance to children. He says he plans to use his sudden windfall to fund his dream of “changing other people’s lives the way dance changed mine.”
I’ve received numerous messages asking for my side of the story. Since this seems to be the most popular thread I decided to post my personal experience here. Thank you all for the love and support.
Posted by Lenin Gutierrez on Wednesday, June 24, 2020
A Starbucks spokesman issued the following statement to News10:
We want everyone to feel welcome in our stores. We respectfully request customers follow social distancing and safety protocols recommended by public health officials, including wearing a facial covering when visiting our stores.