It is easy to see why those who fell for the Dave on Wheels hoax fell so hard. Followers of “Dave” on sites like Twitter and The Chive thought they were reading posts from a deaf young man suffering from cerebral palsy who had worked tirelessly to overcome his obstacles, all the while maintaining a positive outlook and relatably wry sense of humor.
“Dave’s” was a genuine feel-good story, a buoyant narrative that rose above the Internet’s impulse toward apathy, irony, and just plain hate. His disarming personality and refusal to be held back by his physical limitations made people feel closer to him. I’m just like you, he always said. Despite my disability, I’m just like you.
But after “Dave” suddenly passed away from pneumonia following a meteoric rise to fame–including a supportive tweet from Kim Kardashian–a website emerged called Dave on Wheels Exposed, revealing that the entire thing had been a sham to “Dave’s” thousands of loyal fans. The site was started by a Canadian beauty vlogger named Kristi-Anne Beil, whose friend had been close with “Dave.”
In the aftermath of the hoax, as former friends of “Dave” struggle to unearth who was really behind the Dave on Wheels persona, one aspect of the controversy seems to have been glossed over. Who is the real “Dave on Wheels,” the actual person in the pictures that the hoaxster used to wrangle sympathy and attention?