TikToker raises over $175,000 to help elderly Walmart employee retire

A TikTok user raised over US$175,000 for an elderly Walmart employee after his video of her sitting alone in a breakroom went viral. TikTok / @dbon973_

It all started when one TikTok user uploaded a video of an elderly Walmart employee sitting alone in a breakroom. Now, that employee is US$175,000 (more than $232,000) closer to her retirement.

The clip of Nola, whose name is visible on her Walmart nametag, triggered a massive wave of sympathy online.

Devan Bonagura, who uploaded the now-viral video, wrote, “Life shouldn’t b [sic] this hard…”

The 15-second video has since been viewed nearly 27 million times.


:/ I feel bad. #fyp #blowthisup #sad #walmart

♬ Jocelyn Flores – XXXTENTACION

Nola’s age is not known.

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Walmart has not made a public statement about Nola or the viral video.

In the comments of Bonagura’s video, many social media users called for him to establish a GoFundMe page to accept donations for Nola, so she can stop working for the retail giant.

On Oct. 4, Bonagura created the GoFundMe page.

In the description of the GoFundMe, Bonagura wrote, “Nola works at Walmart and that says enough. Let’s all come together and help.”

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The GoFundMe’s goal was $10,000. As of this writing, over $175,000 in donations have been made. On TikTok, Bonagura assured concerned viewers that Nola would receive 100 per cent of the donations.

In a separate TikTok video, Bonagura presented the funds to Nola on Oct. 5. At the time, the GoFundMe had raised $110,000.

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He met Nola, who was again wearing her blue Walmart vest embellished with dozens of enamel pins, in a parking lot where she was accompanied by her daughter.

Bonagura explained that after seeing video of her in the breakroom, people online wanted to help raise funds to get Nola to her retirement.


WE LOVE YOU NOLA I HOPE THIS HELPS❤️🙏 #blowthisup #fyp #gofundme #nola #walmart #viralvideo

♬ original sound – DBON

Nola, who was mostly quiet in the video, agreed to accept the funds. She claimed she would still have to work at Walmart until she can pay off $60,000 on her home’s mortgage.

“This will help a lot,” Nola’s daughter said in the video.

Nola promised to stop working as soon as she had enough money for both her mortgage and retirement.

In another TikTok video, Bonagura clarified that he has never worked for Walmart, but rather was employed by a third-party vendor that sold phones through the company.

According to Bonagura, raising the money for Nola wasn’t without difficulty. In a series of additional videos posted to his TikTok page, Bonagura claimed the store manager of the Walmart where Nola works threatened to call the police and ban him from the store if he did not delete the video and the GoFundMe page. The Walmart manager also insisted Bonagura should return all donations raised for Nola.

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“Walmart said they’re getting a bunch of threats from people who saw the video,” Bonagura said. “I told them, ‘Do what you gotta do,’ because I’m getting this money to this woman one way or another.”


#fyp #blowthisup #gofundme #viral

♬ original sound – DBON

Bonagura also claimed to have been suspended with pay from his current job as a result of posting the initial video of Nola to TikTok.

According to Walmart, the average American Walmart associate makes $19 ($25.18) an hour.

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