You never should have messed with Brad’s wife
Who is Brad’s wife?
And what did Cracker Barrel do to her?
That’s not the point here, apparently. Thousands upon thousands of people are giving the popular restaurant chain Cracker Barrel one heck of a headache after one man complained his wife was fired without reason.
The whole affair is an example of how social media campaigns can take on a life of their own. After all, we don’t even know if “Brad’s wife” is a real person, if she was actually fired from a Cracker Barrel restaurant, and, if so, what the reasons might be. For its part, Cracker Barrel has remained completely silent.
To get you up to speed, here’s what happened:
A man named Bradley Reid Byrd published this post on his Facebook page, claiming that his wife had been fired by the restaurant after 11 years of employment. And to make matters worse, it all happened on his birthday:
According to Byrd, his wife is named Nanette and worked at a local Cracker Barrel in Corydon, Indiana. However, neither the Cracker Barrel company nor the individual location have addressed claims that she either worked for the company or was fired.
But that hasn’t stopped an avalanche of people from jumping into the fray. Literally every Cracker Barrel across social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram has been swamped with angry comments and jokes about “Brad’s wife.”
Delightful recipe for an old southern favorite? Not until you tell us about Brad’s wife?
Critically acclaimed musician talks about her new song? Cool. But first, talk to us about Brad’s wife.
What’s on the menu for Sunday supper? How about an answer about Brad’s wife?
One local Florida newspaper tracked down Byrd, who said he still hasn’t heard a word from the company. In a follow-up post to his Facebook page, he wrote:
“Good morning. I still have not heard from ‘said’ company. I would like everyone to remember that some very good people work for them. The people at the Corydon location are our friends (like family) and are just trying to make a living. So if you want answers, please direct questions to the home office. They are the ones who fired my wife. Thanks to all for the continued support and I will keep you informed....#stillwaiting."
The uproar has even led to a Change.org petition with nearly 20,000 people (and counting) demanding “justice for Brad’s wife.” That vaguely written petition simply demands “answers” from Cracker Barrel, with a promise to deliver the signatures in person to its corporate offices:
“Brad was a kind and simple man. His wife, a loyal Cracker Barrel employee of 11 years. On a day that should have been full of cake and laughter, there was sorrow. It was Brad’s birthday ... and his wife, Nanette, was unfairly, unjustly, terminated from her employment. 11 years, Cracker Barrel. 11 long, hard years. It is for this reason, we demand answers.”
It’s hard to be sure how many people are taking this seriously. But the “Brad’s wife” movement has truly become … something. Is it a troll gone viral, an act of outrage over our continued economic challenges, a flashpoint to lash out at corporate culture, or a dynamic mix of all three?
But the most baffling thing of all has to be Cracker Barrel’s refusal to weigh in. Take a hint from the folks at McDonald’s or Wendy’s. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.