American tourist receives backlash for allegedly filming herself sneaking onto European train

An American tourist has received backlash after confessing that she lied about “sneaking” onto a train while on vacation in Europe to go viral on TikTok.

In a video posted to her TikTok on 11 June, Shelby Reicks documented how she and her friend allegedly attempted to ride the train in Rome for free but ended up getting caught. The 24-year-old Chicago resident was seen biting her fingernails as she looked down the carriage waiting for the conductor to approach. “Not us thinking we snuck onto this train in Rome for free,” her caption read.

Reicks continued to panic, trying to think of an excuse as to why the two of them didn’t have tickets. “Me trying to come up with a game plan of what to say,” another on-screen caption popped up.

The “anxious” traveller thought it best to just ask the train attendant if they could purchase the $14 ticket on the spot, and while they were eligible to do so, they were forced to pay an additional fee. The price increased by €50 ($55) each, with Reicks’ jaw dropping when she was told the adjusted amount.

“Me in utter shock that we both just spent $68 instead of $15 on a 15-minute train ride,” she said at the end of the video.

Speaking to Insider, the content creator admitted her video was slightly misleading and didn’t give an accurate depiction of why she and her friend got on the train without a ticket in the first place. According to the TikToker, the two tried to purchase a train seat with her Apple card when they were on the platform. However, she said the transaction wouldn’t go through, but that the station workers had let them on the public transport anyway.

Rather than telling the full truth, Reicks explained to Insider that she embellished the story with her caption claiming they “snuck on” to attract more viewers.

“In the digital era, I understand how a sprinkle of clickbait can increase engagement. I did not actually purposefully ‘sneak’ onto the train,” she told the outlet.

Though Reicks ended up paying way more than the original seat price, her fee had the potential to be much more. Per the Atac Roma website, anyone found without a valid ticket can be charged anywhere between €100 ($100) to €500 ($548) plus “the ticket price as well as procedural and postal costs”.

The video has since attracted more than 9.9 million views on the app with over 1,130 commenters. Most of the viewers ridiculed Reicks’ thinking she could ride for free, while others said they were pleased to see the pair get caught.

“Literally it says on all the signs if you don’t buy your ticket you will be fined,” one viewer wrote, while another made a negative assertion about US tourists: “So American.”

“Don’t cheat the system, or the system will cheat you,” another individual remarked.

Reicks told Insider she didn’t realise her video would be viewed so many times because she posted it before her flight home from Italy. When she landed, she was “shocked that it already amassed hundreds of thousands of views”.

The Independent has reached out to Reicks for a comment.

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