Bradley Reid had one simple question: Why did you fire my wife?
But he decided to ask her employer in an extremely public way — on Cracker Barrel‘s corporate Facebook page. He still doesn’t have an answer as to why his wife, Nanette, lost the retail-manager job she held in an Indiana Cracker Barrel for 11 years. But he does have an army of wisecracking trolls behind him. Once Internet pranksters caught wind of Reid’s inquiry, they flooded the Cracker Barrel page with comments about “Brad’s Wife,” the Internet’s new favorite meme. Pity the poor social-media manager behind the scenes, desperately trying to regain control by posting videos of mixed-berry pancakes.
It started on Feb. 27, when Reid posted on his personal Facebook page that Cracker Barrel had let his wife go, and posted the name of the woman who allegedly fired her. “I would really like to know why and those of you who know me these days, know that I WILL find out. In the mean time, if any of you would like to know also, please go to their Facebook page and ask them. I would really appreciate it,” he wrote. A few more posts with complaints about the company and the circumstances of Nanette’s firing followed. Then, on Tuesday, Reid posted his question on the Cracker Barrel page and comedian Amiri King posted the exchange on Twitter, according to People Magazine.
“We demand answers for Brad and his wife,” one Cracker Barrel follower posted. The hashtag #JusticeforBradsWife was born. The memes began. The worst day of the Cracker Barrel social-media manager’s life began then, too.
Someone started a Change.org petition that has 17,000 signatures and counting. Another person started a Brad’s Wife Twitter account.
Next came digital vandalism: People began to fill the Yelp and Google pages for Cracker Barrel with queries about Brad’s Wife, and bad reviews. One person posted that Brad’s Wife was the best server, which would be nice if Brad’s Wife weren’t a retail manager (oh well!). Then there was this Wikipedia edit:
A cow wearing a tie in this Chick-fil-A photo offered her a job:
Meanwhile, Reid realized that he had created a monster. On his Facebook page, he implored everyone to stop harassing his local Cracker Barrel: “Remember that some very good people work for them,” he wrote Thursday. Friday morning, he posted another request:
Neither Cracker Barrel nor Reid responded to a request for comment by the time this story was published.
Congrats, America: You have your new Harambe.