Friday, July 17, 2015

Lies Travel Fast, Especially on Facebook

Recently, a young woman named Caitlin Boucha -- a newly minted member of the Air Force -- told her father she had been denied service at a Super America gas station near the Twin Cities airport. The station is frequented by lots of cab drivers, and she was asked to leave because her military uniform offended the "foreign" drivers.

Her father proceeded to post his outrage to Facebook, which resulted in threats against the SA's employees, a possible blockade by a motorcycle club, and talk of an overall boycott.

The only problem is that Caitlin was lying. She wasn't even in the store on June 13, the day she said it happened. She is unable to identify the employee who supposedly told her to leave. The credit card she said she used to pay at the pump (after she was supposedly turned away inside) was never used for such a transaction.

Of course, "Caitlin Boucha did not respond to requests for comment." Her father retracted his post on Facebook and apologized for it, but the damage is obviously done.

What I want to know is how this even happened. She told her father a lie and he believed her, then took that to social media where it got out of hand.

But what was the lie about in the first place? Was it a case of a person who dislikes "foreign" cab drivers or Muslims (since many of our local cab drivers are African immigrants who are usually Muslim) and made up a plausible story during a discussion? Did she maybe feel uncomfortable in her uniform among a group of cab drivers some day (not June 13 at SA), and extrapolate it to an overt act? What did she say to her dad, exactly?

Hard to say. But like others with a unique name, Caitlin Boucha may be ruined by this permanently. (From a quick search, I know where she went to high school and that she's on Pinterest and Instagram. She may be of Native American heritage, since she was part of a fancy dancing performance at a local elementary school. In fact, it's kind of disturbing how much you can glean about her interests without even trying.)

Remember, she's only 18. She just graduated from high school this spring, having already joined the military beforehand. I don't know what went wrong in her thinking, but I doubt her lie was meant to become public in the way that it has. I'm sure she regrets it, maybe more than Super America does.

1 comment:

Gina said...

Caitlin Boucha needs to learn from this lie, AND her father needs also to learn from this experience, especially about the power of social media. I suspect her lie was more about covering up what she was really doing that day instead of having anything to do with political or social issues. She's 18. She's a self-absorbed teenager, as most teens are at that age. Her parents need to have a serious talk with her about her integrity and the damage she has done herself, as well as her father taking responsibility for the damage he's done to her and himself on social media. What they can hope for now is that it'll be forgotten in 6 months since society's attention span has gotten so short.

They have no one else to blame for their trouble here but themselves, and that may be the most important lesson of all.