PUEBLO, Colo. - The woman behind a viral video out of Pueblo said her experience at Walmart happened, despite the corporation's statements that her story is false.
Paige Yore told KRDO NewsChannel 13 that she received thousands of hateful emails and several death threats after questions surfaced about her story. She said she never posted the video for fame or money, but instead, wanted to spread a message of love.
"What I am doing is not about the fame, it's not about the money, it's not about being on ABC. It's about touching people's lives in a world where we all forget what the meaning of Christmas is," said Yore.
Yore said she doesn't want this to turn into a fight with Walmart, but said her experience was real, contrary to the company's statements.
"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 cow girl, and just happened to go viral," said Yore. "Did I plan on it? Absolutely not. Did I want that? Probably not."
The video Yore posted Friday had 25 million views on YouTube before she decided to make it private.
Yore recorded the video in the front seat of her car, presumably in the parking lot of the store.
"Happy Friday everybody," she began. "I just had this experience, and it really touched home to me that no matter where we are, no matter what we're doing, we are there for a reason."
Yore went on to explain that she had been waiting in line for about 20 minutes while a young cashier struggled to get customers checked out. "He can't ring anything up, he can't remember the codes, he's taking deep breaths," she said about the cashier, who she estimated was 16 years old.
Yore continued that she was beginning to feel frustrated that the wait to get through the line was so long when another woman lost her temper and began yelling at the struggling cashier. She says the woman became even more hateful when her card was declined.
That's when Yore says she stepped in and tried to calm the woman down. "This young man's obviously having a bad day. Let it go. It's not his fault that you don't have money," she says she told the woman.
It's what happened next that makes this seemingly typical tale of an overwhelmed store clerk and an irate customer worth the 35,000 shares the video had already received by Monday afternoon.
Yore says the clerk began crying, walked out from behind the register, hugged her and began talking. She says he explained that his mother had committed suicide earlier in the day, but that he had to work to make rent and pay the bills.
The lesson, Yore says in the video, is this: "Even if your customer service sucks, even if whatever happens, somebody is rude to you being your customer service, don't jump down their throat because they are fighting a battle that none of us know about."
In response to an inquiry by KRDO NewsChannel 13, Walmart said Monday that a viral video isn't accurate.
"This is not true," a media relations representative said by phone.
Walmart says it reviewed surveillance video from the store and found no evidence that there was ever any yelling, no evidence that the cashier and the woman hugged and no evidence that the woman gave the cashier money.
The representative says that Walmart has spoken with the cashier and that his mother is alive. The representative says the cashier doesn't know what the woman who posted the video is talking about.
The Walmart spokesperson said there was some tension between the cashier and the customer in front of the woman who posted the video because of a language barrier, but that none of details in the Facebook video are true.
Yore stuck by her story on Monday night. She said she visited every Walmart in Pueblo Sunday to try to find the cashier, but didn't have any success. She said she would still like to try to find him and help him.
Walmart said it would not release the surveillance video that captured the encounter. A spokesperson said video is only released to law enforcement.