They say all publicity is good publicity, right?
Well, in the case of one plumber in Texas, that old adage is failing to ring true.
Mark Oberholtzer, a plumber out of Texas City, Texas, is suing a car dealership because his old company truck has ended up in the hands of ISIS. You might wonder, how does he know it’s his old truck? Well, he knows because it still has his company’s name and phone number on it.
Oberholtzer had a decal on the truck that read “Mark-1 Plumbing Company” and included the company phone number for potential clients to call when they needed a plumber. The company eventually decided to trade in this truck for a newer model. At the time, Oberholtzer attempted to remove the decal for his plumber services off of the truck. He was told not to do so by the dealership and that that they would handle it.
Being a Texas man, Oberholtzer took the dealership at their word, and left his truck with its plumber advertisement intact. The dealership later auctioned off the truck without having removed the decal. The winner of the auction was in Turkey, so the truck was sent there. It then eventually found its way into ISIS hands.
Through the ISIS social media campaign and Twitter, militants were shown riding inside of the truck, with heavy anti-aircraft missiles on the back of it, all with the plumber’s phone number and company name prominently displayed.
The next part of the story should come as no surprise in our social media filled world: the photo went viral. Which, of course, led to thousands of phone calls to the plumber and his company, with a large number of them being harassing and including violent threats. Oberholtzer was even interviewed by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, as to how his truck ended up with ISIS.
Even worse, Oberholtzer had to shutter his company and leave town for a time, because the threats were becoming so bad.
Now, Oberholtzer has filed a suit against the dealership for not following through and removing the decal as promised. The plumber is seeking $1,000,000 in damages.
So the next time someone tells you that any publicity is good publicity, share with them this story of the unfortunate plumber with the truck sold to ISIS.
Featured image via Twitter. This image is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.