MANILA - The prank of a Youtuber pretending to be a Walmart CEO firing employees has backfired after it left a Filipina cashier in tears.
Lauren Love, who has 147,000 subscribers, had been banned from all branches of the grocery chain following the "you're fired" prank she pulled on several Walmart employees, including Maria Leones, who had been working at the Richmond, Texas branch for 6 years.
Leones said she was "crushed" by the prank as her job covers the medical expenses of her husband, who recently had a heart attack and underwent a quadruple bypass, according to local news website Click2Houston.
In the video, which has since been taken down from Youtube, Love could be seen questioning Leones why she was working in a different section of the store if she was a cashier.
"I don’t appreciate you walking around here, you’re supposed to be at the cashier, cashing people out. What if someone doesn’t see you because you’re actually over here," she said.
"I’m the CEO and I actually want you to be over there. Actually, I’m gonna need to see your badge, I’m gonna need to see your badge and your vest because you’re fired."
Leones, fighting her tears, said she had been doing her job well.
"I have been here for six years. I’ve been doing my job very well, I’ve been regarded as employee of the month," she said before breaking into tears.
Love then broke out of character and assured Leones she was not really fired.
"I’m sorry I did not mean to make you cry, you’re not fired. I’m sorry, you’re doing a really good job. You’re fine, I’m sorry," she said.
But the damage has been done. Walmart said Love and her cameraman have been banned from its stores.
“This prank is offensive and the people responsible are no longer welcome in our stores. Our associates work hard every day to serve our customers. They do a fantastic job, deserve better than being subjected to such disrespect, and will continue to have our full support," it said in a statement.
Love issued an apology on Youtube, saying she was only "doing it for content."
"I just wanna truly apologize to the Walmart lady that feelings I hurt. I feel honestly really bad. Do not feel bad for me, that was my mistake."
"I’m an entertainer so I expect good content that my viewers will enjoy. I do it purposely for entertainment."