A TikTok video of a Waffle House employee holding a baby in the kitchen while working has gone viral and an internet scammer used the clip for financial gain.
The video was posted on the TikTok account of @kizzle360 with a text that says: “Ain’t know why she got her baby in here smh.”
The video itself is just a 12-second clip of a woman with a young child on her hip working one-handed while preparing food. Since being posted two days ago, it’s accumulated more than 3 million views.
The crafty woman claiming to be the highly-criticized Waffle House employee in the video came forward to tell her story to TMZ.
Tiffany Clark, who works at the South Carolina Waffle House branch told TMZ that she had to watch her four-month-old niece, Octavia, last-minute during an overnight shift because the father, her brother, had recently died.
Her sister-in-law was left to raise the newborn as a single mother. But before she was due to work the night shift at the Waffle House, she received a heartbreaking call from Octavia’s grandmother.
The grandma explained that the mother was being hospitalized after suffering a crisis related to mental illness. She said the child’s mother was hospitalized and they didn’t want the child to end up with child protective services.
Tiffany still had an hour left on her shift when they brought the baby to her, so she made it work. She told the news outlet that she was never cooking with the baby, she was marking plates for servers.
If Tiffany hadn’t have taken her niece, she could have been taken away by social services. She intends to become her niece’s legal guardian while her mother gets medical help.
She explained that her “big boss” didn’t know about the incident until the TikTok went viral. She went on to claim that the Waffle House suspended her over the incident and offered her CashApp ID to anyone offering donations.
While the original poster’s tone seems to be intended to shame the woman for having a child at work, some viewers agreed with that sentiment
“So you telling me, she had to hold her baby at 25-30 pounds AND do her job and y’all have the audacity to shame her… she doing what she has to,” one viewer commented.
“Nothing but respect tbh,” a second said.
“Hella respect for her,” another one added. “You never know somebody’s situation – I’d love to meet her in person.”
However, upon further investigation, the entire thing appears to have been a scam and the person coming forward claiming to be the employee isn’t her at all.
Njeri Boss, Waffle House’s VP of Public Relations, said that the company investigated the video and determined that the media portrayals and social media posts are not accurate.
The person claimed to be Tiffany Clark is not the person in the video and the actual employee has not identified herself publicly.
“While an employee of ours was recorded holding a baby at work, she is not related to that baby in any manner,” Njeri said. “Never identified herself as the person in the TikTok video, never provided a CashApp account to receive any donations, never gave an interview to any media outlet, and never was suspended from her job.”
According to Waffle House, the employee in the video was holding the baby, who was the child of a co-worker, in an attempt to help stop the child’s crying.
Since the video has gone viral, she has been “retrained” on safety measures following the incident.
“We caution against further dissemination of that false story and the damages that might result, not to mention the help that might give to support an apparent fraud on the public,” the spokesperson said.
The restaurant warns TikTok users to avoid supporting the apparent fraud account, which has yet to be taken offline and has more than 14,000 followers.