SAN DIEGO, CA (CNN) – A woman in California took to social media to criticize a Starbucks barista for refusing to serve her because she didn’t have on a mask. The barista ended up getting $100,000 in donations.
Now the spurned customer wants half of that money and is threatening to sue to get it.
Amber Gilles says she posted this photo of barista Lenin Gutierrez after he asked her to wear a mask at Starbucks.
The caption reads “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.”
” … and I wanted to bring awareness about the discrimination,” she said.
That post exploded online – then a GoFundMe for tip money for the barista surpassed $100,000.
Gilles says she has medical problems – but also says masks are not effective.
“One of them, I get shortness of breath, dizziness and it messes with the heartbeat,” she said. “And I do have asthma as well, and I do get maskne. So there’s several things going on and not only that but it doesn’t even work.”
She did share two pieces of paperwork to show what she calls a medical exemption.
This 2015 doctors report she shared shows analysis of her uterus and an ovarian cyst.
And this hand-written note with a San Diego chiropractor’s letterhead that she asked us not to show says she has quote “underlying health conditions that prevent her from wearing a mask.”
She says her post about the experience is a First Amendment right.
“It was discrimination and everybody is okay with it and enabling and rewarding that kind of behavior,” Gilles said.
And – she says she wants half of the more than $100,000 donated – which was given to the barista in cash last week.
“I don’t care if he gave it to Lenen, I’m going to sue him for half of it,” she said.
She says the lawyers she’s spoken to about taking her case are expensive and she can’t afford one yet – so she started her own gofundme to raise money for herself.
When asked if she has any apology or message to the public …
“No absolutely not,” Gilles said. “I feel like I need the apology. I’ve been discriminated against, I’m the one who’s sick.”
Starbucks now requires customers to wear facial coverings or masks in all 9,000 of its company-owned American stores.
The mandate supersedes local laws in some states or cities that might not require wearing one.
Starbucks said customers who refuse to wear a mask inside can order from the drive-thru, curbside pickup or delivery.
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