Over the past few days, nearly 900,000 people have shared a Colorado woman’s heartbreaking Facebook video about how she comforted a young Walmart employee whose mother had committed suicide. People have now watched her nearly break down in tears 25 million times. But according to Walmart, the touching episode didn’t happen — at least not the way she claimed.
Paige Yore said she was waiting in a long line at Walmart, which was getting longer because of a teenage cashier who was obviously upset and was having trouble ringing up customers. According to Yore, a woman in front of her in line threw a fit at the clerk after her card was declined. Yore says she stood up to the woman on the young man’s behalf, and he came around the counter to give her a hug. At that point, he started crying and revealed that his mom had committed suicide that morning, and he was desperately worried about paying his rent.
Yore said she gave the boy all the money in her wallet, and she ended the video with the moral that “you don’t just lay into somebody like that, because you never know what’s going on in their life.”
It was a perfect story from a humble hero, and commenters called Yore “an angel from above” and wrote, “We need more people like you in this world.”
An incident like this would look great for the Walmart #brand, but a spokesman for the company told Buzzfeed they’d reviewed the footage of Yore checking out that day, and it doesn’t look like the incident actually took place.
“We see her come up and she’s checking out and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of conversation,” the spokesperson said.
And as for the young cashier, Walmart told Buzzfeed, “We found that the associate’s mother is actually alive and in good health.” The cashier told the company he’d just been doing his job normally that day.
Speaking to Pueblo news station KRDO, Yore maintained her story was true, in spite of Walmart’s video evidence.
“I just want everyone to know that I am here to inspire people. I’m not here to cause any problems. I’m just a normal girl from Idaho, just another cowgirl, and just happened to go viral,” she said. “Did I plan on it? Absolutely not. Did I want that? Probably not.”
She also claimed she visited “every Walmart in Pueblo” on Sunday in search of the cashier, but couldn’t find him.
An inspirational story, sure, but an unlikely one.