A week ago a Facebook video created by rodeo coach Paige Yore went viral with over 20 million views. In the video Yore describes an encounter she had on Black Friday with a teenaged cashier at a Wal-Mart who had allegedly lost his mother to suicide that morning.
The problem? Not much of it is factual. Wal-Mart managers were alerted to the video after people began calling the store asking to help the cashier in question. Upon reviewing the surveillance camera and talking to the cashier, Wal-Mart released a statement that the statements Yore made in the video were false. Snopes.com has also determined this viral video is false.
From an etiquette perspective, it is generally considered bad form to brag about your charitable giving and especially to exploit someone else’s alleged misery so that the net effect is that you gain more from the publicity than the alleged victim stood to gain. There is a delicate balance between informing a large group of people to an opportunity to serve and looking too much like you are doing it to get your ego stroked. What tips the scale in this situation is that Yore presents herself as the savior and by doing so, she has a reasonable expectation that people will praise her for her alleged generosity and kindness and as expected, a whole lot of people do exactly that. In the case of Paige Yore, observers noted that she had attempted to create other such “feel good” videos but none had resonated with viewers nor reached the level of viewership that the most recent one did.