There are very few people you can actually trust in this world. Lots of them will gladly put their ethics and code of honor on hold if they can gain something immediate from it.
You may recall a few months ago that a lesbian waitress claimed that a customer wrote a derogatory message about her on the receipt. People reached out to her in support and to contribute money. It was eventually discovered that the whole thing was a scam, the waitress made it up. She promised to give the donated money to charity, but as far as I'm aware, she never did. She played on people's outrage and sympathy, and made a quick pile.
We live in a cruel and heartless world, and the good people want to help those who are oppressed or taken advantage of or just falling on hard times. Any time there is a national disaster, ordinary people rush to set up funds and gather money to help the other people stuck in the disaster while government officials hem and haw about budget concerns, sending messages, or even just using it as leverage to get votes on another pet project. This is a noble impulse on our part, to do what we can to ease suffering.
But then it runs headfirst into what I wrote above, that people are shady. And the sad thing is when, this initial voice asking, "What if this horrible thing is a scam," turns out to be 100% correct.
This heartbreaking picture you see here is one Victoria Wilcher. Victoria is three years old and lives in Jackson, Mississippi. Victoria was attacked by three pit bulls at her grandfather's place -- two were shot, and the third was euthanized. This poor girl is looking at lots of surgery and lots of therapy (the grandpa and his girlfriend are awaiting trial for child endangerment).
Kelly Mullins is Victoria's grandmother. According to her Facebook page, she took Victoria to a KFC after the hospital for some sweet tea and mashed potatoes, as those were pretty much the only things she could eat at the moment because of facial damage. She claims that, while there, an employee came up to their table and asked them to leave because Victoria's face was upsetting the other customers. As she told WAPT-TV news, "They just told us, 'We have to ask you to leave because her face is disrupting our customers.' [Victoria] understood exactly what they said."
Now, that's horrible. And within a day, KFC got online, asking for information so they could investigate and see that the employee got what they deserved. They also pledged $30,000 to Victoria's medical bills. The FB page raising money for Victoria's treatment quickly went over $135,000.
I was going to write this up last week, complete with applause for KFC for getting to the bottom of this, lots of hatred and vitriol for the heartless employee, and sympathy for Victoria and her family. But a little voice in my head said, "What if it's a scam?" So I sat on it, waiting to see what would happen.
Well, that was a smart move. KFC started investigating, and found two problems -- first, no record exists in the computer for an order that included both iced tea and mashed potatoes that day. Second, they reviewed the security camera footage from that store.
Victoria and her grandma do not appear on it at all the entire day.
When it was reported that KFC had brought in an outside investigator, I knew something was up. And a short time later, they made the obvious conclusion -- the whole thing was a hoax.
Now, I want to point out that KFC is NOT taking away the $30,000 donation for Victoria's medical bills. Thank you. I'm glad they are not penalizing the little girl for what the grown-ups around her are doing.
But the rest? There's a special place in Hell for people like you who exploit the very charges you are to protect, not to mention take advantage of other people's sympathy. I know the bills will be high. I know the psychological scars might never go away.
But to manufacture a crime like this and exploit your own three-year old? Burn in Hell.