On 1 October 2015, Facebook user Melissa Butz-Uhl Dingle published the photograph below:
Example: [Collected via e-mail, October 2015]
I saw this posted on Facebook today by a friend. Really hard to believe the story is true. So hard, I’m letting you know about it rather than share it.
Appended was the following statement:
I have a favor to ask you all….My son, My Marine experienced some recent crapola (someone decided it was OK to SPIT on my son while he was in uniform!) and then my son said this to me…. “people don’t like us anymore”. Please let my son, Ezekiel Dingle, KNOW that there are A LOT of people that support our Military and They support him too.
Butz-Uhl Dingle later elaborated on her initial account as highlighted below:
I have a favor to ask you all….My son, My Marine experienced some recent crapola (someone decided it was OK to SPIT on my son while he was in uniform holding the door open for them!) and then my son said this to me…. “people don’t like us anymore, all I wanted to do was be a change in the world”. He is only 19 years old and took on this great title. Please let my son, Ezekiel Dingle, KNOW that there are A LOT of people that support our Military and They support him too.
Butz-Uhl Dingle’s tale closely resembled a classic urban legend about a shunned serviceman, iterations of which have remained intermittently popular since Vietnam. In 2014 and 2015, the trope appeared repeatedly in a constellation of outrages on social media and spread beyond the world of servicemen. Amid debate about the use of police force, rumors began to pop up alleging police officers were refused service or disrespected by employees of various companies (although many such claims proved to be exaggerated or entirely fabricated).
According to Dingle’s Facebook page, he was at boot camp as of 28 June 2015. An active GoFundMe page created by Butz-Uhl Dingle indicated he graduated on 28 August 2015; it remained active and listed a new graduation date of 12 November 2015. Butz-Uhl Dingle did not provide a date, location, or other information about the spitting incident in her Facebook post. We’ve contacted Butz-Uhl Dingle in an attempt to obtain more details about the claim but have received no answers to date.