ZANESVILLE - When a woman tweeted that no one showed up for her best friend's baby shower, people from all over the world opened their hearts and wallets.
However, days later the woman who posted the tweet revealed online that it was a joke after her friend received hundreds of gifts.
Posting under the Twitter handle "dory," Dorthy Holmes of Zanesville posted the original tweet on July 22 in support of her friend, a young, single expecting mother. Within hours, a Walmart online baby registry jumped from 10 low-cost items to more than 360 purchased items ranging in price from a few dollars to more than $300.
Later in the day, Holmes shared a link to another baby registry and a PayPal account inviting others to support the expecting mother, Chelsie Collins.
By day's end, more than $4,500 in merchandise had been purchased for Collins just from the Walmart registry site alone. That did not include the value of Walmart gift cards.
On July 25, the manager and a staff member at the Golden Corral restaurant - where the baby shower was held - told the Times Recorder between 12 and 15 people attended the baby shower.
Holmes insists the restaurant staff are mistaken.
"We set up for 40 people, we sent out 70 invites," Holmes told the TR on July 25. "If there were 15 visitors I need to see where they were the whole time. There were multiple events going on at the same time but only me and my husband showed up at the baby shower for Chelsie."
Some individuals who intended to purchase gifts for Collins tweeted that they contacted Golden Corral to confirm nobody attended the shower. They expressed anger, hurt and shame over what some referred to as deception in their online posts.
Some of the supporters have indicated on social media that they canceled their purchases after confirming with the restaurant that people did attend the baby shower. Others however, said they were happy to help the young woman and her unborn child despite feeling like the tweet may have been intended to deceive.
Holmes then posted another tweet on July 26, stating in part “Only 3 adults and 3 children turned up at Golden Corral. It wasn’t a turn out at all, 1 of the adults was her aunt (so literally 1 relative). She (meaning Collins) truly needed all the gifts that’s why she accepted them instead of telling people it was a joke we just went with it … We do however realize how wrong up we were for allowing it to continue and we are owning up to that.”
Captain Chris Phipps of Zanesville Police Department has advice for those wishing to help others. "
We always recommend, especially when it comes to online, that people look into the charity or person before giving. It's easy to feel bad for people."
© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved