Minnesota Health Department Responds to Good Samaritan Complaint Rumors
By now we all know the joys and pitfalls of social media. How they influence our lives however knowingly or unknowingly. Here's a story of how one Facebook post can ruin a reputation.
One recent post that has been shared through my 'feed' got my attention because it had to deal with the recent snowstorm that shut down I-35 from Owatonna to the Iowa border. You might have seen pictures of a man at the Owatonna Wal-Mart cooking up and giving out hot dogs to stranded motorists.
A different post, days later states that a complaint was filed against the man for serving/giving away the food. The post names an actual person as the culprit to 'turning' this good samaritan in. It's all not true. Well, the Good Samaritan and the hot dogs are true, but the complaint part is completely false.
You can read the entire post above, but the person who authored it told a complete lie. How do I know this? I emailed and called the Department of Health, and the Department of Agriculture to ask about the alleged complaint. The Department of Health sent this back to me as a reply:
Despite social media rumors to the contrary, the Minnesota Department of Health did not take regulatory action against anyone grilling hot dogs outside the Owatonna Walmart during or after the snowstorm of late February. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture actually has jurisdiction over stores like Walmart, and we confirmed with them that they did not take any action either. We are uncertain how these rumors arose, as we have no record of a complaint being filed." - MN Department of Health Representative
I reached out to the Department of Agriculture, which the email from the Department of Health states, has jurisdiction over the Owatonna Wal-Mart store. I got a call back from them stating that there wasn't any complaint lodged in or around the time of the snowstorms in Owatonna at the end of February concerning hot dog distribution.
What kills me is how many people blindly shared this post, and this Michael DeMars died the death of 1,000 cuts. His professional reputation did as well. I'm not shaming nor am I standing in a pulpit telling you how to live your lives. All I'm saying is posts and made up controversies like this divide us rather than unite us.
I know the world isn't sunshine and rainbows, but maybe we can all settle down and think twice before we hit the 'Share' button.