If you work in a store photo lab, or repair someone’s photo-filled phone, you have exclusive access to the intimate details of other people’s lives. But you’re a professional, so you don’t linger or stare. But surely for some, the temptation to go through the photos is just too much. Maybe you’re even tempted to copy and tamper with one…
(WWMT News, Twitter/jordan lynn,www.artpotato.com)
This is exactly what happened to Jordan Areaux and her boyfriend, Masyn Lehl, when they handed in their surprise pregnancy announcement photos to a Meijer grocery store photo lab in Plainwell, Michigan.
Like most new, expecting parents, they were so excited to tell their families they were expecting their first child together, so they planned something special for the Christmas day announcement. They had a photo taken of them posing against a backdrop of snow capped pines at a Christmas tree farm holding a sign with the chalk-written message: “Dear Santa July 2017.” But shortly after taking them to their local Meijer grocery store to have them developed, their pictures went viral.
They were going to slip the pictures into Christmas gifts with their announcement. “It would be the first he grandbaby in our family, and my grandma actually has cancer, so we were going to kind of surprise her,” Areaux told WWMT. Instead, they say, Meijer photo lab employees took pictures of their pictures and texted them around greater Plainwell. They say the texting chain even reached members of both their families, spoiling the whole surprise. Why might the employees have done this?
Areaux told WWMT that she went to high school with some of the women who worked at the photo lab who had allegedly taken photos of her announcement and began texting them around. “This was the screenshot that was sent to me of the photo that was taken before I had even showed anyone,” she said, as she showed WWMT a picture of her announcement that was texted out.
Areaux speculates that because some of the Meijer employees were her high school friends, they couldn’t resist spreading the news. “I think the girls were trying to start drama and be mean,” she told Michigan Live. She was sent a screenshot by a friend of one of the texts, which included her photo and the message: “Congrats?” One of Lehl’s friends also texted him about the picture, writing: “You didn’t tell me you were going to be a dad.”
Of course, it wasn’t long before Areaux figured out that the two girls were responsible. And while the Midwest retailer isn’t commenting on the specifics of what happened, they did confirm that the two workers no longer work for Meijer. Meijer said it immediately investigated after Areaux alerted management to the issue. “All photo department team members are required to adhere to a strict confidentiality policy and when this came to our attention we took it very seriously,” part of the statement read.