US tourist Shelby Reicks went viral when she said she sneaked onto a train in Rome without paying.
Viewers criticized the TikToker for trying to “cheat the system” and labeled her “entitled.”
Reicks told Insider her story wasn’t quite true, and her goal was to gain views.
A TikToker attempted to go viral by saying she had sneaked onto a train while on vacation in Europe, and complaining that she was caught out and handed a fine. She did gain millions of views, but the response wasn’t positive.
On June 11, Shelby Reicks, a 24-year-old from Chicago, Illinois, posted a video that showed her sitting in a train carriage, with an on-screen caption that read, “not us thinking we snuck onto this train in rome for free.”
In the video, Reicks could be seen looking down the carriage as further captions appeared on screen that said she was “getting anxious” as the ticket checker approached, and discussed a “game plan” with her travel companion about what to say, hoping she could just buy a ticket for $14.
When the ticket collector stopped by their seats, Reicks asked if she could buy a ticket there and then, before being told it would cost an extra €50, or $55, to purchase them on the train. Reicks could be seen gasping at the news of the additional cost, as a caption read the train journey was just 15 minutes, and Reicks exclaimed “what the…” before the video ended.
According to Atac Roma, which operates public transport facilities in Rome, passengers found traveling without a valid ticket can be issued with a penalty fare of up to €500, or $548, in addition to the payment of the ticket price.
Reicks told Insider that her TikTok story wasn’t entirely accurate, and in fact she had tried to buy a ticket on the platform entrance using her Apple card but it didn’t work, and said two workers let her through anyway, which is how she ended up on the carriage without a ticket. She said she’d added the caption which claimed they had sneaked onto the train in a bid to boost viewership.
“In the digital era, I understand how a sprinkle of clickbait can increase engagement,” she said. “I did not actually purposefully ‘sneak’ onto the train.”
The clip received 8.7 million views and over 960 comments, some of which suggested ways in which the TikToker could have gotten out of the fare, but the vast majority of the response appeared to criticize Reicks for attempting to sneak onto the train and score a free ride, as comments called her out for being “entitled” or wrote they were glad she was caught and handed an additional fee.
“Don’t cheat the system, or the system will cheat you,” one viewer wrote in a top comment that received 25,900 likes.
Others took issue with the TikToker’s apparent response when she was issued the fine, and the fact she acted shocked by the additional fee, instead of accepting the increased fare as a consequence of her purported actions.
“Why are you complaining that they charged you more,” a viewer wrote.
Reicks told Insider she posted the video while still in Italy and saw it had some initial growth before she boarded her plane home, and was “shocked that it already amassed hundreds of thousands of views” by the time she’d landed back in the US.
Among the “mostly negative” response from the viewers, Reicks said many specifically “came at Americans as a whole” and criticized “American tourists” in general for their behavior in other countries.
This has become common on social media. Back in July, an American tourist received backlash on TikTok when she compared traveling to the Amalfi Coast in Italy to “manual labor,” and a debate about how much water Europeans consume sparked a back and forth between US tourists and local European residents in recent weeks.
Read the original article on Insider