May 4th, tow truck operator Ken Shupe showed up to the scene of an accident in Asheville, NC. Twenty-five-year-old Cassandra McWade was heading home on I-26 when a tractor-trailer hit the front of her car. Afterward, her car wouldn’t start. A first responder moved it to the side of the interstate. Even so, the driver’s side car door was only two feet from the highway.
Shupe arrived to tow McWade but refused when he saw that she had Bernie stickers on her car. According to McWade, Shupe said:
“‘I can’t tow you … you’re a Bernie supporter. I was like, ‘Wait, are you serious? You’re kidding me.’…He just walked off, not knowing if I had anything else lined up. Nothing,. I was just totally in shock.”
McWade suffers from a range of disabilities including psoriatic arthritis, impaired mobility, early stage Crohn’s disease, severe fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. In addition, McWade said her handicap placard was clearly hanging from her rearview mirror, and she spent another two hours on the side of the road before help arrived. Shupe claims he didn’t know but said even if he did, he still wouldn’t have helped her. But even if she was completely healthy, Shupe’s behavior wouldn’t be acceptable. Kelle McWade, Cassandra’s mother, wrote an outraged Facebook post about the incident. Kelle claimed that her enraged response was about “human decency.”
Kelle’s post quickly went viral and a day later Rawstory characterized Facebook as “going nuclear” on the profile for Shupe’s business. Shupe had apparently never posted on the Facebook page for his towing service, ShupeeMax, until Wednesday evening when the local news aired a story about his refusal to help McWade.
Initially, Shupe blamed God for the incident.
“Something came over me, I think the Lord came to me, and He just said, ‘Get in the truck and leave. ’And when I got in my truck, you know, I was so proud, because I felt like I finally drew a line in the sand and stood up for what I believed.”
That’s right. He was PROUD of leaving a young woman alone on the side of the highway. Proud.
Not content to simply blame his poor behavior on God, Shupe attempted to “manage” the crisis by asserting he had the right to deny service to McWade on the official ShupeeMax FB page.
Surprising perhaps only to Shupe, the antagonistic comment invited even more criticism of Shupe’s behavior. And soon enough the tow truck operator was whining about having to learn about how to use “Facebook” controls in order to remove negative comments as he “couldn’t believe the nasty things” people were writing and that this was hurting his business!
Shupe clearly didn’t understand that this situation was not only being reported by national news outlets but that even if he deleted the comments there are, as demonstrated above, screenshots of what he actually wrote. Shupe forgot the two main tenets of managing a crisis in the age of social media that there are no more local scandals and that the internet never forgets.
The official ShupeeMax FB page seems to now be defunct, as comes as no surprise. Instead of trying to let this all die out, Shupe complained about the treatment he has received as a result of his behavior. In an interview with Greenville Online, Shupe said: “I’m just a normal guy that tows a car or two a week, and now I’m the biggest S.O.B. on planet Earth.”
McWade took another lesson from the incident:
“If America’s going to be great again, it’s got to be kind again first.”
Featured image via ishouldbelaughing.com