A GoFundMe for a San Diego-area Starbucks barista who refused service to a woman who refused to wear a COVID-19 mask has now surpassed more than $90,000.
Last Monday, a woman took to Facebook after she said she was turned away at a Starbucks because she was not wearing a mask. At the time, San Diego County required everyone — except for those with health issues — to wear masks while in public.
"Meet lenen (sic) 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 woman's post was captioned.
Though the woman was upset that she was not served, many on Facebook sided with the barista, Lenin.
"There's no reason to publicly shame a kid who's trying to work his shift like any other day," one commenter wrote.
"They are following what they're told. I understand your frustration But it's being at aimed at the wrong people," a second commenter wrote.
Another Facebook user, Matt Cowan, was inspired to set up a GoFundMe page to collect tips for Lenin.
"I set it at $1,000, thinking that was a reach, and we would be lucky if we hit like $250. And when we hit $100, I was overwhelmed by that," Cowan told Scripps station KGTV in San Diego last week.
By Wednesday, Cowan's campaign had raised more than $10,000 tips for Lenin. Over the weekend, funds continued to pour in, and as of Monday afternoon, the campaign had raised more than $93,000.
In an update posted to the campaign page on Sunday, Cowan reiterated that all of the funds would be going directly to Lenin, and that he had arranged for Lenin to meet with a financial adviser.
"Lenin has said that he plans to use some of the money to pursue his dreams of becoming a dancer," Cowan said. "He also wants to donate to some organizations in the San Diego community."
In a statement last week, Starbucks said that it advises customers to heed advice on mask ordinances set by local governments.
"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," a Starbucks spokesperson said in a statement to KGTV. "More information on what customers can expect in our stores can be found on our At a Glance page."