SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV/CNN) - Amber Gilles posted a Facebook photo to criticize Starbucks barista Lenin Gutierrez for refusing to serve her because she did not have a mask on.
“Meet Lenen (sic) from Starbucks who refused to serve me because I’m not wearing a mask. Next time, I will wait for cops and bring a medical exemption,” the post read.
The post exploded online, and a GoFundMe was created to collect tip money for Gutierrez, who ended up getting over $100,000 in donations.
Now, Gilles wants half of the money raised on the GoFundMe page.
“It was discrimination, and everybody is OK with it and enabling and rewarding that kind of behavior,” she said.
Gilles says she has medical problems. She also says masks are not effective.
“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’ (mask acne), so there’s several things going on. And not only that, it doesn’t even work.”
She shared two pieces of paperwork to show what she calls a medical exemption. A 2015 report she shared shows analysis of her uterus and an ovarian cyst. Gilles says she also has a handwritten note from a chiropractor that says she has “underlying health conditions that prevent her from wearing a mask.”
Gilles says the lawyers she has spoken to about taking her case are expensive and she cannot afford one yet, so she has started her own GoFundMe to raise money for herself.
She says that she will not apologize.
“I feel like I need the apology. I’ve been discriminated against. I’m the one who’s sick,” Gilles said.
Starbucks now requires customers to wear facial covering 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 says customers who refuse to wear a mask inside can order from the drive-thru, curbside pickup or delivery.