A California woman says she deserves half of the $100,000 raised by strangers for a Starbucks barista who refused to serve her without a mask on.

Amber Lynn Gilles complained about her experience at one of the coffee chain’s San Diego locations in a Facebook post last month, posting a picture of the barista who denied her service for defying the county’s coronavirus guidelines.

“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 wrote in the since-deleted post.


Gilles’s picture went viral and a GoFundMe set up for the barista, identified as Lenin Gutierrez, ended up raising more than $100,000. 

In an interview with KGTV, Gilles said she wants to sue for half of the funds donated to Guiterrez. 




“It was discrimination and everybody is OK with it and enabling and rewarding that behavior,” said Gilles.

She told the outlet that she has reached out to lawyers about pursuing a case. However, she said the legal fees would be too expensive, so she launched her own donation page.

When asked if she wanted to issue an apology or public message, Gilles said, “No absolutely not.”

“I feel like I need the apology. I’ve been discriminated against, I’m the one who’s sick,” she said.”

Gilles said she was experiencing symptoms that prevented her from wearing a mask.

“One of them I get shortness of breath, dizziness and it messes with the heartbeat. And I do have asthma as well, and I do get mask-acne,” she said. “So there’s several things going on and not only that but it doesn’t even work.”

She provided the outlet with two documents she said proves her medical exemption from the face covering mandate.

One document was the results from a 2016 pelvic exam which listed “probable exophytic fibroid arising from the anterior wall of the uterus measuring 2.9 cm size,” and “simple 2.5 cm left ovarian cyst.”


The other paper was a handwritten note from the letterhead of a local chiropractor who she asked not to be named, according to the outlet.

The note reportedly reads, “Amber has underlying breath conditions that prevent her from wearing a mask or any type of facial covering whatsoever. Please contact me if have any questions.”

The chiropractor told the outlet that they would not discuss the situation.

Gilles was asked about why a chiropractor would give her a medical exemption for breathing-related issues.

She responded to the outlet by saying “they are dedicated to providing non-invasive personalized care and treatment. They are real doctors.”

Guiterrez posted a video on Facebook thanking his donors, saying his dream is to become a dancer and that he will use the funds to pursue that goal. 

“With this donation I can make these dreams a reality. I can fuel my passion even better now,” he said.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct attribution of the reporting to KGTV.