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Two college students have managed to pull a prank on McDonald's that's so grand, yet incredibly simple, that it's gone viral on social media with over a million shares, likes and views on various platforms.
But the prank wasn't just any immature practical joke — the duo created the stunt to prove an important point about inclusion. And it's pretty epic.
It all started when University of Houston students Jevh Maravilla and Christian Toledo were "munching on some Snack Wraps" at a McDonald's in Pearland, Texas, a city about 40 minutes south of Houston. Maravilla noticed a lack of diversity among the workers and patrons featured on the restaurant's posters and had an epiphany.
"If you haven't noticed, there isn't a lot of Asians represented in the media and hopefully one day I can see someone like me on the big screen," Maravilla said in a YouTube video on Aug. 2. "I look up and I see a blank wall and I tell Christian 'Hey, what if we put a picture of us on there — look around, there are literally no Asians on any of these walls, maybe we can change that'."
It wasn't long before the duo posed for some photos while holding McDonald's food in July. They got one particularly great photo blown up into a poster. It cost them $85 at Office Depot and then they enlisted the help of their friends to carry out the final step of their plan.
Wearing a $7 McDonald's uniform shirt found in a thrift shop, plus a tie, walkie talkie and a fake badge, Maravilla had the fake poster placed on an empty wall thanks to the help of his accomplices.
"Remember folks, all races deserve recognition and I guess I did my part," Maravilla said in the video.
On Sunday — 51 days after the fake poster was put up — he sent out a tweet posing with the poster that racked up over 767,000 likes and 188,000 shares by Tuesday.
Support for the students' gutsy prank has come from all over the world, including applause from celebrities like comedian Tom Segura.
TODAY Food reached out to McDonald's corporate communications office about the poster and received the following statement attributed to McDonald's franchisee Mariselle Quijano: "We take pride in highlighting diversity in every aspect of our restaurants. We applaud these students' creativity and hope to see them in our restaurants again soon."
Although there were no further comments about the diversity of models included in the chain's marketing materials, the fake poster was still in its place on Tuesday, according to Maravilla.