An Illinois woman working at a Subway fast-food restaurant claimed she was suspended from her job after surveillance footage showed she fought off an armed robber.
The leaked security footage that was first shared with local news site RockfordScanner showed Araceli Sotelo, of Rockford, grappling with the assailant who walked into the store and went behind the sandwich counter on September 5, 2021.
Sotelo posted the video on her TikTok account, @yadalove07, where it racked up over 8.2 million views.
She captioned the video with:
"A man came into my job and tried to rob me."
Warning: armed robbery attempt.
The two struggled inside the empty store, with no other attendants, until the robber dropped his gun and Sotelo managed to snatch it up.
At one point, she thwacked him with his weapon as he tried to get it back.
He was last seen in the video holding onto Sotelo's purse as the two disappeared out of frame.
Many TikTokers commented on her bravery as she valiantly fought off the intruder.
On Friday, Sotelo wrote an update in the comments, claiming the restaurant chain had suspended her.
Representatives for Subway did not confirm her claim; however, a spokesperson did say:
"We are deeply concerned about the recent incident at a franchised location in Rockford, Illinois."
"The restaurant owner and management are fully cooperating with the police investigation, and we request patience until that process is complete."
"Every restaurant is independently owned and operated. We are in contact with the franchisee to better understand the situation and assist as needed."
The statement was not good enough for TikTokers.
Sotelo's mother, Sylvia Oviedo, started a GoFundMe campaign for her daughter, who is now out of work.
Oviedo said her daughter's purse was stolen by the assailant seen in the security footage, and she asserted that "nothing from the store was stolen."
"Her manager has now suspended her from work leaving her without a job after she heroically defended the store," the mother wrote in the campaign description.
"My daughter now has a broken phone, no ID, No debit card, and no purse and he refuses to compensate her for any of it."
The post was updated to reflect the money raised was "being used towards an Attorney and lost wages."
So far, 780 donors made contributions totaling $19,195 of its $20,000 goal.