An ex-Aramark worker went viral on TikTok for exposing the reality behind her summer job at Yosemite National Park.
By Tuesday afternoon, Mia (@mianoelia_) reached over 537,000 views on her original video. She has posted multiple follow-up videos responding to viewers asking for more detail.
@mianoelia_ Yosemite Seasonal work is glorified on this app #yosemite #yosemitenationalpark #seasonalwork #nationalpark ♬ original sound – mia
In the initial video, Mia says she learned about seasonal work through TikTok. “Seasonal work is essentially where you go to a national park during a season, and you work there full time,” she says. She adds that employees are supposed to be given housing while working in the park.
“Sounds great, right?” she asks. Mia says she loves nature and thought the job would be an “amazing” summer opportunity for her and a friend.
“We went through Aramark, calling out that company,” she adds.
Mia says she and her friend got the same job as baristas at a coffee shop in the “main part” of Yosemite. “Within the one month that my friend and I worked there, we both got COVID, lost our periods, experienced some creepy and questionable experiences with men, and were treated probably in a way that was illegal by our superiors at work,” she says.
Mia adds that one of the main issues was that the air quality index reached 450 due to local wildfires. “They did next to nothing to help us,” she says.
Mia says the company’s attempt at alleviating the situation consisted of providing one or two fans with “some sort of filter taped onto the back.” She includes a photo of one of the fans, which has a note taped to it that reads, “Please do not unplug. This is to provide clean air during the fire.”
“Needless to say, we developed coughs like 50-year-old smokers,” Mia says.
Mia also says that she and her friend started recognizing a “Yosemite look” on some of the other workers. “You could tell who was new and who has been there for a while based on how horrifically unhealthy they look.”
She adds that there were issues with the job from the moment she and her friend arrived. “We got there and found out that we did not have housing,” she says.
Concerned viewers in the comments section asked Mia where she stayed if the company hadn’t provided housing. Mia says she and her friend were put in a “6-person bunk room” when they arrived and were told to “not get comfortable” because they would not be staying there.
When she asked the staff for an estimate on when they would get more permanent housing, Mia says she and her friend were told they could be in the room anywhere from two days to their entire stay.
“It ended up being a week,” she says. She and her friend eventually moved into a two-person cabin.
In a second video, Mia tells viewers that she wants to make it clear she is not hating on Yosemite National Park. She says the park was beautiful, and her co-workers made her stay memorable.
“I have an issue with the company Aramark,” she says. According to Mia, Aramark is Yosemite’s “hospitality” provider. Mia feels that Aramark did not care about its employees. “If you were sick, you were still expected to come in,” she says.
Mia then tells a story about a co-worker who got so sick “his eyes welded shut.” She says her supervisor didn’t allow the worker to go home. When the worker “finally” did leave, Mia says the supervisor talked about how lazy he was and how “he was going to kill him when he got back.”
She says another issue is that the restaurant she worked in was one point away from not passing its health inspection check, “which means we would’ve had to shut down due to uncleanliness.”
In the comments section, some viewers argued that Mia should be more grateful for her experience. One comment read: “At least you got to go home to Mom and Dad’s house. Many more people don’t have any better choices.”
Mia responded to the comment with a video. In it, she agrees that she’s “lucky” to have somewhere else to go but recognizes that many people don’t. “I feel like raising awareness about Aramark not caring for their employees could help those people who need that job, who need to live there and stay there,” she says.
“I feel like seasonal work is very glorified on this app, and I wish I had known the reality before I did it,” Mia adds.
The Daily Dot contacted Mia via TikTok direct message and Aramark via email for more information.