Jan. 25 (UPI) — A prank video on TikTok fooled a disappointed Florida woman into visiting a North Carolina town she expected to look like Switzerland — and now the town’s mayor has weighed in.
Olivia Garcia said in a TikTok video that she and her family were driving through the Carolinas to have a look at recent snows, and she convinced them to make a detour to Gastonia, a town she had recently seen in a viral TikTok from Zachary Keesee.
Keesee’s video, part of what he calls his “Not Carolina” series, features footage of his trip to Switzerland, which he intentionally misidentified as Gastonia.
Garcia told WBTV the video made Gastonia look “like a little town out of Disney movie.”
She said the reality of Gastonia came as a surprise.
“And then all of a sudden we get there, and it’s just rundown gas stations — like we had to go to the bathroom and there was no bathroom that worked in any of the gas stations,” Garcia said.
Garcia’s reaction to the real Gastonia earned the attention of Walker E. Reid III, the town’s mayor.
“Apparently we are the Talk of the Town! And while Gastonia is certainly not Switzerland, we’re glad people are learning more about our great city,” Reid said.
Reid invited both TikTokers to visit the town and give it another chance.
“We’re glad to see so many people having fun with Zachary Keesee’s post and hopefully Ms. Garcia will come back to see all the great things our city has to offer.
“In fact, if they want to contact me, I’d love to give them a personal tour and show them what makes our city tick,” Reid said.
Keesee said he reached out to Garcia to apologize for the confusion. He said he would be interested in Reid’s offer of a tour.
“I’ve never stopped in the city and you know, I think it’s time to pay a visit,” Keesee said.
Garcia said she would also be willing to take a second look at the real Gastonia.
“I am sure there are pretty parts, so I will 100% go back,” Garcia said.