The story went viral on Facebook last week after the girl’s aunt wrote a post claiming the child and her grandmother were asked to leave a Kentucky Fried Chicken location because her facial scars scared the customers.
The scam resulted in “the family bilking the public and professionals for more than $135,000 in cash, as well as gifts and free surgeries,” writes the Laurel Leader-Call.
Teri Rials Bates, the girl’s aunt who runs the Victoria’s Victor Facebook page, wrote that the girl and her grandmother, Kelly Mullins, were at a KFC location on State Street. But that location has been closed for years, according to the Leader-Call.
“Thank you for your support for Victoria. If you would like to file a complaint its the KFC on State Street in Jackson MS,” Bates originally wrote.
Bates then changed her story, writing, “Im the Aunt, I run her page and Im the one that miss quoted that it was State street when it was actually Woodrow Wilson. Dont blame the grandmother for my mistake!”
But the hoax quickly unraveled after store receipts from the only other KFC locations in Jackson, MS were analyzed.
Mullins told WAPT-TV in Jackson shortly after the incident went viral on social media June 12 that: “I ordered a sweet tea and mashed potatoes and gravy. I sat down at the table and started feeding her and the lady came over and said that we would have to leave, because we were disturbing other customers, that Victoria’s face was disturbing other customers.”
The source told the Laurel Leader-Call no orders were recorded to include mashed potatoes and sweet tea on the same transaction, or even the two items as part of a larger order on May 15 — the day of the reported incident.
KFC managers defended their workers at both locations near the hospital where the little girl received treatment after she was mauled by 3 pit bulls.
“We have never ever ever run off anyone, and we have seen some really really sick people come to the restaurant from the hospital,” the source said. “We’ve had people come in who were shot in the face. We’ve had them with tubes and wire sticking out. We never have asked anyone to leave.”
After the hoax went viral, employees and managers at both Jackson KFC locations reported getting death threats, having drinks thrown at them through the drive-thru window and facing constant verbal harassment, the source confirmed to the Laurel Leader-Call.
The Facebook hoax was written in the days following a post begging Facebook followers to donate money to pay for the little girl’s feeding supplies.
On May 20, Victoria’s Victories posted: “Victoria’s family is really struggling with the insurance company. Currently the(y) are not paying for the formula that goes into her feeding pump. If you can donate please do. They need your help.”
No donations were given until June 13 when the hoax went viral.
More than $135,000 has been raised through an online donation site, gofundme.com, since June 13.
Of the $135,000, $30,000 of it came from the KFC corporate office to pay for the girl’s medical expenses.
Mullins’ attorney, Bill Kellum of Jackson, said until he receives word from the investigation launched by KFC that he could not comment.
One KFC employee told the Leader-Call on June 20 that it was the first day since the hoax went public that he would wear his KFC work shirt in public.
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