I was walking through a large store by myself, just browsing around in the women’s clothing section, when I saw a man pacing angrily through the aisles of greeting cards. The man was wearing a gray beanie, dark sunglasses, and a leather coat. He was shouting angrily about there being no one around to help him, and cursing under his breath. Despite him seeming slightly terrifying, I walked over to him and asked if he needed help looking for a specific card. I told him that I used to work in the store, and might be able to help him. He just stared at me for a few seconds before dramatically ripping off his sunglasses, and saying, “Get the fuck away from me.”
I stared for a moment, completely in shock. It was Will Smith. Will Smith was the man angrily pacing through the greeting card aisle. Will Smith had just cursed at me and told me to get away from him. I calmly asked him if he was sure he didn’t need any help, and he started hollering incoherently at me. I backed away and quickly retreated back to the women’s clothing section. I was shaking, and felt a strange mix of confusion and excitement. There was a girl nearby who was folding shirts on a table, and I walked over to her and told her that Will Smith was in the store. She got excited and said she wanted to say hello to him, but when I told her what happened, so said we had to warn the other employees.
We walked over to the Electronics department, where a really young guy was working at the counter. He literally only looked 12 or 13 years old. As we were telling him that Will Smith was in the store, Will Smith walked by, and before we could warn him that the guy was kind of an unstable jerk, he ran up to him, excitedly asking him to take a picture. Will Smith looked over at me and the other girl, and started shouting that I was stalking him, and that this was all my fault, and whatnot. I stood there, completely frozen, while security showed up to drag him away, still screaming obscenities in my direction.
Then, I was at home. I was sitting at my computer, and Facebook Messenger popped up. I didn’t know the person, but they sent me a link to an online blog, run by Will Smith. In his most recent blog post, he wrote a scathing article about how I was stalking him, and harassing him, and had gotten him removed from a store. He mentioned me by name, and there were pictures of me as well. I was horrified. I never told him my name, and how did he even get the pictures?
I read through the comments, and there were at least a dozen people with “Jan” or “Janise” (my name) in their screen names, all claiming to be me, and all saying horrible things, and making me look bad. There were links being posted to other blogs, social networks, and even YouTube, where people were pretending to be me. I tried writing a comment, apologising to Will Smith, and telling him this was all a huge misunderstanding, but as soon as I hit enter, I was flooded by horrible, mean replies. Most people thought I was another fake.
I started crying, and closed the blog post. Back on Facebook, I had another two dozen messages waiting for me, all from strangers, all with links to these other sites where people were pretending to be me. Trying to twist the situation, and tell “their side” of the story, trying to get attention. I clicked on a few of the YouTube links, and saw girls of every age, ethnicity, etc. impersonating me, making me look awful. It didn’t make any sense.
It went on like that for a while. Endless videos, endless tweets, endless blog posts, all people trying to garner attention for themselves, while destroying my good name.
After a while, I woke up.