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Cracker Barrel customers go viral for leaving a photo of themselves on restaurant’s mantel

“We’re just two moms who were having some good fun,” says Ashley Zessin Shelley.

A prank executed at Cracker Barrel by a pair of best friends has gone mega-viral, and not for being contentious — shockingly — but for being completely harmless.

On June 11, Ashley Zessin Shelley and Darcy Gashweiller (@gash.79) posted a TikTok in which the self-professed “sisters” can be seen trying to redecorate the walls of their local Cracker Barrel in southern Georgia to great and hilarious success.

“Adding to the decor at Cracker Barrel,” reads the text on the viral video, which has been viewed more than 21 million times and liked more than 3.9 million times in just three days. In the 25-second clip, Shelley can be seen furtively getting up from her seat and leaving a framed image of her and Gashweiller on a Cracker Barrel mantle.

The black-and-white photo, which shows Shelley and Gashweiller dressed up as farmers, complete with overalls, gardening equipment and a chicken perched on Gashweiller’s hand. It really is a sight to be seen — and now for tons of patrons, it is.

The image Ashley Zessin Shelley and Darcy Gashweiller left in their local Cracker Barrel.
The image Ashley Zessin Shelley and Darcy Gashweiller left in their local Cracker Barrel.Courtesy Ashley Zessin Shelley and Darcy Gashweiller

Reaction to the video has been almost universally positive, with new fans of the prankster duo taking to the comments to share their delight.

“This is the best thing I’ve ever seen,” commented one TikTok user.

“LMAO i love a good harmless prank,” wrote a second.

"This is the kind of prank I can get behind!!! So cute and wholesome and nobody's getting hurt," commented a third.

But this is far from the first time someone has successfully pulled off a Cracker Barrel decor prank; in fact, it's a certified trend.

In April 2021, TikToker @genevievew07 went viral for posting a similar video, with the caption, "When you dare your friends to place a picture of all of us in Cracker Barrel."

And there were plenty more of those types of videos that year.

In 2022, a woman in Nashville, Tennessee put up a vintage photo of herself duckhunting inside a Cracker Barrel, went viral and was eventually named "Employee of the Month."

There may be such a high success rate to this trend — and its recent resurgence — due to the fact that Cracker Barrel stores have an average of 1,000 pieces of décor each, so it’s easy to miss one little frame or two — especially if it’s executed as deftly as Gashweiller and Shelley.

Ashley Zessin Shelley and Darcy Gashweiller hanging out.
Ashley Zessin Shelley and Darcy Gashweiller hanging out.Courtesy Ashley Zessin Shelley and Darcy Gashweiller

For Gashweiller and Shelley, the internet delight over their little prank is shocking but welcome.

“Ashley and I shenanigan pretty hard,” Gashweiller tells over the phone while on the way back from a day at the water park with Shelley and their families. “I mean, this is the first time I’ve really ever posted anything on TikTok of our shenanigans. So I was really surprised that it’s taken off. This isn’t even the best of our shenanigans.”

Ashley Zessin Shelley and Darcy Gashweiller.
Ashley Zessin Shelley and Darcy Gashweiller.Courtesy Ashley Zessin Shelley and Darcy Gashweiller

Shelley and Gashweiller say the prank was intended for their friend Mike who was just promoted to manager at the Cracker Barrel where they left the photo.

“As far as we know, he doesn’t even know it’s there yet,” Shelley says. One wonders if Mike has taken a look at TikTok lately.

As for creating the perfect vintage-looking image, the funny friends say they didn’t have to travel far, sourcing the overalls and hats from their husband’s closet and finding the chicken — Gashweiller’s own — right in their own backyard.

“I would like to point out that the chicken is a paid actor. She is fed very well,” Gashweiller says, adding that they both have several live chickens. “And by the way, I look frumpy because I couldn’t stop laughing. I was trying to get a good shot. It took a lot of time.”

For those wondering if the duo has been discovered, the ladies say it was still there when they went back, detailing their experience in a follow-up TikTok.

“Hey @Cracker Barrel can @MrsChop18 and I get the employee discount?” writes Gashweiller in the caption of a video showing that the frame is still, indeed, up.

“We’re just two moms who were having some good fun,” Shelley says.