Story about a disfigured girl kicked out of KFC because of her looks a hoax
The heart tuggung story about a 3 year old Victoria Wilcher, who was told to leave a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant because the sight of injuries she received in a dog attack in April bothered customers, is a hoax.
Kelly Mullins, the girl's grandmother, raised $135,000 when the supposed incident went viral and was covered by national media. A doctor from Las Vegas flew in and pledged to donate his time to perform the surgeries. The KFC managers and employees got death threats and suffered other indignities.
But Mullins made the whole thing up.
New York Daily News:
The blond-haired, blue-eyed girl was nearly mauled to death in April by three pit bulls owned by her grandfather. Donald Mullins and his girlfriend, Rita Tompkins, were charged with child endangerment after the April 10 incident, the paper reported.
“Victoria had bites all over her body but the most damage was to her sweet little face,” the girl’s aunt, Teri Rials Bates, wrote on a gofundme.com site that has raised more than $135,000 for the girl. “She had a broken upper and lower jaw, broken nose, cheek bones (sic) and right eye socket. She lost her right eye completely and the ability to move the right side of her face.”
Details of the attack itself were not under investigation. But a look into Mullins claims of what actually happened at the Woodrow Wilson Drive KFC location on May 15 are peppered with inconsistencies, an investigation by KFC found, the Leader-Call reported.
n fact, the woman and the little girl did not even visit that location, or another Jackson location, a review of surveillance tape found.
Mullins told WAPT on June 12 that she and the girl visited the store after a doctor’s appointment at a nearby KFC, where the grandmother “ordered a sweet tea and mashed potatoes and gravy.”
But a review of transactions on May 15 at both Jackson locations found those items weren’t included in the same order at any point. And no one matching the description of Mullins or little Victoria visited either restaurant, the Leader-Call reported.
“It just didn’t happen,” the source told the newspaper.
The grandmother’s tall tale went viral after a post to a Facebook page dedicated to the girl’s recovery mentioned the KFC incident and a plan to boycott the restaurant. A local TV news piece followed before it gained steam, attracting national attention in newspapers, on websites — including the Daily News — and national television shows.
And once the story went wild, more than $135,000 was donated for medical costs. Before the news pieces, only $600 was raised for the little girl on the gofundme.com site.
Incredibly, KFC said that despite the grandmother's story being bogus, the $30,000 they pledged to help the little girl will still be given. I guess they suffered enough bad press because of the incident and didn't need to be seen yanking the pledge from a needy little girl.
An interesting exercise in the power of social media and a reminder that Americans will usually fall for a sob story.