TikTok video helps Walmart worker in NJ pay off house, retire
HACKETTSTOWN — It could be the plot of a Hallmark Christmas movie.
A TikTok video of a dejected-looking 81-year-old woman in a Walmart breakroom that went viral led to a GoFundMe page that has helped her pay her mortgage allowing her to retire.
In a series of videos on his TikTok page, Devan Bonagura, 18, shows how the video he took of Nola Carpenter in the breakroom of the Hackettstown Walmart unbeknownst to her with the caption "Life shouldn't b this hard" accompanied by melancholy music went viral.
The video received 27 million views, 4 million likes and questions about people could help her. Bonagura created a GoFundMe page to help her retire.
How can we help?
Bonagura posted a second video of him approaching Carpenter in the parking lot with the news and asked if she would accept the money. He also found out why she continues to work.
"I'd accept it but I'd still have to work until I got the other $70,000 or $60,000 to pay off the house," Carpenter told Bonagura. "That's what's holding me working is the house."
Carpenter said she worked at Walmart for 20 years mostly to pay her mortgage. Daughter Kathy Carpentier told NJ.com that her father was in a car crash several years ago and cannot work.
The video ends with Kathy Carpenter switching the administrative rights of the page to her mother.
As of early Monday afternoon, the fund had over $183,000 in donations.
Bonagura, who works for another company selling phones inside Walmart said in another video that a Walmart manager asked him to take down the video and the page because of threats the store received. The manager also threatened to get police involved.
"I told them 'do what you gotta do because I'm getting the money to this woman one way or another,'" Bonagura said in another video. His own company put him on paid suspension.
The story has a happy ending as Carpenter said in the latest video posted Sunday she was going to retire in January.
"I'm going to retire the first of the year. I'm going to help them out for the holidays and then it will be good to stay home," Carpenter said. "I'm going to miss my customers because they look for me every day."
Walmart on Monday morning did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for comment.
@dbon973_ :/ I feel bad. #fyp #blowthisup #sad #walmart ♬ Jocelyn Flores - XXXTENTACION
Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.