“I thought that was going to be the end of it,” said Mr. Gutierrez, who has worked at Starbucks since 2017. “I didn’t think it was going to come to this.”
Ms. Gilles posted the photo she took on her Facebook page with the comment: “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.” She expressed doubt about masks, saying they were “stupid and so are the people wearing them.”
The post got more than 110,000 likes and reactions, 133,000 comments and 49,000 shares, but it also ignited a firestorm that led to tens of thousands of dollars for Mr. Gutierrez from more than 6,500 donors through a GoFundMe campaign.
As of Sunday night, the site reported more than $87,000 in donations. It was headlined “Tips for Lenin Standing Up To A San Diego Karen,” a term used to describe a white woman who is angry or feels entitled.
Mr. Gutierrez could not be reached.
Ms. Gilles said she was “denied and discriminated against” and that she had received “thousands” of death threats, according to a video on NBC7 in San Diego. “I didn’t harass anyone,” she said. “I called them out because I’m frustrated.”