Meet the woman behind Jeep's new pickup truck, the Gladiator

FCA(NEW YORK) -- Elizabeth Krear was just beginning her career at Chrysler when the Detroit automaker decided to cease production of its Jeep Comanche truck in 1992.

Now, both Krear and Jeep are forever entwined: Krear oversaw the engineering team behind the all-new 2020 Gladiator ($35,545), Jeep's long-awaited return to the truck segment.

Krear, a mechanical engineer, is no stranger to trucks: she was responsible for the interior of the 1994 Dodge Ram and was the lead engineer for the Ram 1500. Her entire 30-year career at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has focused on vehicles that very few women drive.

The automotive sector has been making strides in recent years to hire more women in leadership positions but it's still an industry where men dominate the decision-making. Krear said she had few female engineering peers in the beginning and "in most cases I was the only woman at the table."

Being the only woman, however, never put the brakes on her career.

"This industry has so much opportunity," she said. "The automobile is the No. 1 consumer good. I wanted to work in the auto industry from day one."

Krear, a board member of FCA's Women's Alliance, a group that helps employees network and find mentors, has seen the number of female employees at FCA steadily grow in the last decade. She estimates that women make up 30% to 40% of the Gladiator team, including La Shirl Turn, who, as head of advanced color and materials design at FCA, was responsible for the exterior paint, wheels, trim, headliner and carpet on the Gladiator. Ram also employed women in key roles, Krear noted.

"We had a pretty strong representation of women," she said. "The work dynamic is just amazing. You feel more like a family. You get to know each other ... we make the best decisions for the product."

Recruiting female engineers

Karen Horting, executive director and CEO of the Society of Women Engineers, told ABC News the Big 3 automakers in the U.S. -- General Motors, Ford and FCA -- have "definitely made a commitment to recruit women."

Still, fewer than one in five engineers in automotive are female, Horting said. Women account for 27% of the domestic auto manufacturing workforce compared to about 47% of the overall labor force, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

"Women have the same skills as men," Horting said. "I hear from women engineers that they love being able to contribute to an industry that impacts so many. It's good business for all automakers to hire women."

Having more women role models in automotive would encourage young females to apply for jobs traditionally held by men, according to Cindy Schipani, a business law professor at the University of Michigan.

"There has been a shortage of engineers and companies have needed to step up recruiting efforts across the board," she told ABC News by email. "There are studies that point to the importance of diversity for improving decision-making. In addition, businesses in general, are becoming more aware of issues of unconscious bias in recruitment and promotion decisions and may be trying to address these issues. Awareness is the first step. I also think that Mary Barra's leadership at GM, with her background in engineering, serves as a terrific role model for women engineers, and may influence the career choices of some women."

A recent "Women at the Wheel" study conducted by Deloitte and Automotive News found the percentage of women who aspire to senior executive positions in automotive has fallen from 82% in 2015 to 41% in 2018. Moreover, the study said the industry is perceived as doing the least to attract and retain women.

Krear said her years of hard work and determination, including going back to school for her executive MBA as a full-time mother and engineer, have rubbed off on her two adult children. Her 22-year-old daughter now plans to pursue a career in another male-centered profession: investment banking. With 30 years of experience and two master's degrees, Krear can prepare her daughter for what to expect as a minority in the workplace.

"When you're the only woman in the room, you kind of second-guess yourself," she said. "I would tell her to be herself. When you are comfortable, people around you are comfortable as well. Don't be afraid to offer input, and when you do -- be confident and trust yourself. If you don't nobody else will."

Women are 'big influence'

Hiring more female Jeep employees is important, Krear said. But so is getting women to become lifelong fans of the brand.

Krear, who drives a truck every day, engineered the Gladiator so it would appeal to men and women equally.
"We also spent a lot of time tuning the ride so it rides like an SUV," she said. "The back seat folds down and it's all one-hand operation. You could be holding your baby, or a cup of coffee, or your puppy in your left hand and you can get to everything behind the rear seat."

She went on, "The women are just in love with it. They see it and think it's the coolest thing on the road. They want to know what it is."

According to a 2014 analysis by consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, women influence 80% of the car buying decisions. Jim Morrison, head of the Jeep brand, said management constantly solicits the opinions of female customers.

"We spend a lot of time paying attention to ladies," he told ABC News. "They're a big influence on the purchase and ownership. We make sure we get lots of input from customers."

Jeep sold 16,132 Gladiators in the third-quarter, bringing the year-to-date total to 23,384.

"Sales have been good," said Morrison. "We're still building inventory and we had our best month in August."
Pushing the Gladiator to its limits

Less than 15% of Jeep owners take their vehicles off-roading, according to Morrison. But Morrison and Krear wanted to prove that the Gladiator -- just like popular Wrangler SUV -- can crush, clobber and dominate any off-road obstacle.

The Jeep team and a small group of journalists, including an ABC News reporter, set out on the notorious 22-mile Rubicon Trail in September, one of America's most ferocious and grueling off-roading courses.

"The sounds of scraping might freak some people out but we take our Jeep vehicles to the extreme," said Morrison. "If you're not paying attention you're stuck or rolling off a cliff."

The Gladiator Rubicons overpowered the massive boulders and rocks that were scattered throughout the unrelenting trek.

There was screeching (from both the inexperienced journalists and skid plates below the Gladiator's belly), intense moments of articulation and occasional body-slams when maneuvering the truck around the rugged terrain.

Under Krear's direction, the 3.6-liter, V-6 engine Gladiator was built to be lightweight, stiff and durable with advanced all-wheel drive systems. It can haul a payload of 1,600 pounds with its five-link suspension system. A front-facing trail camera helps drivers to avoid sticky situations and a longer wheelbase and frame enables better weight distribution.

"We wanted the Gladiator to be best in our segment -- an absolute reputable truck," Krear said.

Krear, who skillfully handled the trail in a manual Gladiator, said trucks are part of her DNA. Engineering a sports car? Not in her future.

"I love trucks and Jeeps," she said. "It's about being able to go anywhere and do anything."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Somalian restaurant opens 'window to Africa' in central Ohio

Janet Weinstein/ABC News(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Hoyo’s Kitchen is a newcomer to Columbus, Ohio’s bustling North Market -- an old warehouse filled with food stalls by local restaurants.

This new vendor is exposing Central Ohioans to African fare by serving up classic Somalian dishes in a fast-casual style.

"People have been very welcoming. And slowly people are becoming more and more adventurous," Abdilahi Hassan, the co-owner and manager, said. "It's the best time for us to open a Somali restaurant because people are really appreciative of the Somali community here in Columbus."

Columbus’ Somalian community is the second-largest in the U.S., only behind Minneapolis. Hoyo’s Kitchen opened its first location in Westerville, Ohio, a Columbus suburb, almost five years ago with the aim of becoming a "window to the continent of Africa."

"It's our duty as a Somali community to bridge those gaps and to educate people on who we are and where we come from," Hassan said.

"Hoyo" translates to "mother" in Somali, and Hassan opened the family-run restaurant with the goal of paying homage to his mother by cooking with her recipes. He is a first-generation American, and his parents immigrated to the U.S. more than 20 years ago.

Although anti-immigrant rhetoric has increased on a national scale, Hassan said he hasn’t "seen anything negative" from people in central Ohio.

"Everyone represents themselves and your job is to represent yourself and ultimately your community the best you can," he added.

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Founder of Facebook Marketplace Deb Liu shares how Sheryl Sandberg convinced her to join

bombuscreative/iStock(NEW YORK) --  When an opportunity to work for Facebook fell into Deb Liu's lap while she was on maternity leave, she wasn't convinced she should take it.

She was living in Hawaii working part-time and had just given birth to her second child. She didn't know if she was ready for the next ride in Silicon Valley.

And then she met Sheryl Sandberg.

"She gave me the 'lean in' talk before she had the book and she said a lot of people have great careers but they kind of reach a place where they're having children and they kind of slow down and she was right, it was the next rocket-ship," Liu told ABC News' Chief Business, Tech and Economics Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis on an episode of "No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis."

Liu is credited with founding Facebook Marketplace in 2016, a destination to discover, buy and sell items with people in your social network community. Facebook users can sell furniture, electronics and even cars on the platform, which came as quite a shock to Liu.

"When we started Marketplace, if you told me people would buy and sell cars on Facebook, I would have been really surprised -- and actually last summer we sold our car on Marketplace," Liu said.

Prior to creating Marketplace, Liu worked on major Facebook projects like Facebook Credits, which were sold in retailers across the country as a token-like credit to play games on the social site and Facebook Platform, which enables third-party developers to create their own applications and services that use data from Facebook.

"I think it's challenged me in such a way and it's stretched me and I've grown so much because it wasn't where you go to a company where everything's defined," Liu said. "We actually had an opportunity to find a future of what things could be and that has stretched me in such different ways."

Even though she's working for a major social networking company, Liu said she feels she is an entrepreneur within the walls of Facebook because of the products they let her create.

"I've started four or five new things within a company that has the support to actually grow those things to massive opportunities for the world," Liu said. "Each time I've had the opportunity to start something from scratch and create it into billion dollar businesses to create opportunities for millions of people in the world, and that opportunity has always attracted me to Facebook."

With new tech startups being created every day, Liu says she has had to weigh the pros and cons of staying with a company or creating her own, describing branching out on her own "as flying without a net."

"In a company, you have the option to build, test, fail but then start again immediately. You don't have to shut this down and start the next thing. You actually can pivot, you can iterate and your team comes along with you," Liu said. "You have to decide as somebody who's really passionate about creating new things whether you can do that within a company or outside and what works for you."

As Liu has been a shining star in the tech community, she is among the minority of women in the industry; only 18% of computer science and engineering degrees go to women. Liu is trying to change that with her non-profit Women in Product, with the goal of empowering women in product management and tech.

"I think that it's both a micro problem and a macro problem because our culture is telling girls, 'Hey this isn't for you.' And so how do we actually change that to say, 'Hey, this is this is an equal opportunity for you and the boys'?" Liu said.

As Liu continues to innovate in the tech world and encourage women in product management, she understands the importance of having a sponsor who believes in you.

"When you have someone who has your back, when you fail they say you know what I am going to be behind you, that gives you the courage to take risks and do the really hard things, but when you feel like you're flying without somebody who's going to have your back, you feel like you can't take those risks," Liu said. "Great careers are made by actually taking risks and doing something that someone else hasn't done."

Hear more from Facebook Marketplace creator Deb Liu on episode #133 of "No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis" podcast.

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Chipotle now offers employees free tuition for tech and business degrees

marcnorman/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Chipotle is investing in new education benefits for its employees who are studying business and technology with a new program that will pay tuition up front.

"Chipotle recognizes that financial barriers can be one of the biggest obstacles that impede our employees from achieving their fullest potential," Marissa Andrada, chief people officer for the company, said in a statement. "We are proud to launch this opportunity for debt-free degrees by providing free tuition to help our employees excel in all areas in their lives, both in and out of Chipotle."

The fast-casual Mexican restaurant chain announced Tuesday in a press release that it will "cover 100% of tuition costs up front for 75 different types of business and technology degrees through their partnership with Guild Education."

The company will offer employees the debt-free degree opportunity, after 120 days of employment, to pursue degrees from leading nonprofit, accredited universities, including The University of Arizona, Bellevue University, Brandman University, Southern New Hampshire University and Wilmington University.

Guild Education CEO and co-founder Rachel Carlson said they are "thrilled to partner with Chipotle" to enhance employee experience with benefits.

One Chipotle employee in New York City, Brice Widger, who had two majors with multiple credits, said he was "debating whether or not to go back and pursue my degree." Widger said with the accelerated program through Bellevue University and Chipotle's tuition assistance, the decision was easy.

This is the latest addition to Chipotle's Cultivate Education program that includes a tuition reimbursement program, which allows eligible employees to be reimbursed for tuition up to $5,250 a year at the school of their choice.

Chipotle also offers an industry-first bonus program for employees to "earn an extra month’s worth of pay each year for meeting certain criteria."

Health care, fitness discounts, free English as a second language and GED classes for employees and family members are all available to qualifying employees as part of Chipotle's full suite of benefits.

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WeWork removes more than 2,000 phone booths over formaldehyde hazard

Michael Vi/iStock(NEW YORK) -- After dealing with corporate drama for weeks that saw the withdrawing of its IPO and the ousting of its CEO, coworking startup WeWork is facing a new set of issues after up to 2,300 phone booths were flagged to have "elevated levels of formaldehyde."

“WeWork is taking a number of phone booths out of service at some of our U.S. and Canada locations due to potentially elevated levels of formaldehyde caused by the manufacturer," the company told ABC News in a statement. "The safety and well-being of our members is our top priority, and we are working to remedy this situation as quickly as possible."

Formaldehyde is commonly used in wood construction and manufacturing but exposure to elevated levels can cause eye, skin, nose and throat irritation. High levels of exposure may cause some types of cancer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The company added that they performed an analysis and conducted a series of tests on a sampling of phone booths after "a member informed us of odor and eye irritation."

"Upon receiving results late last week, we began to take all potentially impacted phone booths out of service," the statement added.

WeWork said it identified approximately 1,600 phone booths in their U.S. and Canada locations that may be impacted, and "out of an abundance of caution" are also taking an additional 700 phone booths out of service while they conduct more testing.

In a letter sent to members obtained by ABC News, WeWork said that its Community Team could help members identify which phone booths were available for use and also "provide alternative quiet spaces for phone calls, including booking conference rooms and opening unoccupied offices for your use."

The latest road bump for the coworking startup comes after a rocky month of corporate drama.

After first announcing it was delaying its initial public offering, and then undergoing a change in senior leadership that included co-founder Adam Neumann stepping down as CEO, WeWork announced late last month that it was filing a request to withdraw its initial public offering filing.

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Danish brewer Carlsberg could soon be selling beer in paper bottles

coldsnowstorm/iStock(COPENHAGEN, Denmark) -- Danish beer maker Carlsberg unveiled what it says is the first "paper bottle" for beer, made out of sustainably-sourced wood fibers.

Carlsberg unveiled its Green Fibre Bottle at the C40 Mayor's Summit in Copenhagen late last week as part of the company's initiative to end carbon emissions at its breweries and reduce its end-to-end carbon footprint by 2030.

Myriam Shingleton, the vice president of group development at Carlsberg Group, said in a statement that she and others are "pleased with the progress we’ve made on the Green Fibre Bottle so far."

"While we are not completely there yet, the two prototypes are an important step towards realizing our ultimate ambition of bringing this breakthrough to market," Shingleton added. "Innovation takes time and we will continue to collaborate with leading experts in order to overcome remaining technical challenges, just as we did with our plastic-reducing Snap Pack.”

Carlsberg is joining the Coca-Cola Company, The Absolut Company and L’Oréal in a a so-called paper bottle community. These companies are also working to develop bottles made out of paper fibers.

"Partnerships such as these, ones that are united by a desire to create sustainable innovations, are the best way to bring about real change,” Shingleton said.

Carlsberg unveiled two prototypes which both have a thin polymer plastic-based barrier. One has a recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) film barrier and the other one has a "bio-based" PEF (polyethylenefuranoate) polymer film barrier. The company said the barriers are still being tested but the goal is to create a 100 percent bio-based bottle without the polymers.

Both paper bottles, however, are also fully recyclable, the company said in a statement.   

While still in the prototype phase, the company did not yet say when the paper beer bottles would be hitting shelves.   

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Taco Bell recalls over two million pounds of seasoned beef

RiverNorthPhotography/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Taco Bell has stopped serving seasoned beef at dozens of restaurant locations across the United States over concerns the meat product may be contaminated with metal shavings.

The fast-food chain announced Tuesday that it had voluntarily recalled 2.3 million pounds of seasoned beef from restaurants and distribution centers in 21 U.S. states after a customer reported finding a metal shaving in a menu item last Friday.

By Monday, 100% of the product had been removed and discarded from the affected locations, Taco Bell said.

“Nothing is more important than our customers’ safety, and nothing means more to us than their trust,” Julie Masino, president of North America for Taco Bell Corp., said in a statement Tuesday. “As soon as we received the first consumer complaint, we immediately acted to remove the product from the affected restaurants and proactively worked with the supplier to inform the USDA of our steps to protect our guests.”

The product in question was produced at one plant location on only one of two lines used to make the seasoned beef that Taco Bell uses in its tacos and burritos. The product was sent to distribution centers in Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Virginia, according to Taco Bell.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Monday that Kenosha Beef International, which is based in Columbus, Ohio, is recalling "an undetermined amount of seasoned beef products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically metal shavings." The problem was discovered when the firm notified the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service that it received three customer complaints.
"There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products," the USDA said in a press release Monday. "Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider."

The affected items are cases containing eight 5-lbs. bags of "TACO BELL SEASONED BEEF taco and Burrito Filling," which were produced between Sept. 20 and Oct. 4. The product was shipped to five distribution centers and restaurant locations nationwide. The recalled cases bear establishment number EST. 10130, according to the USDA.

The USDA also noted that its Food Safety and Inspection Service is "concerned that some product may be in restaurant refrigerators."

"Restaurants who have purchased these products are urged not to serve them," the USDA said. "These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase."

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'Broken rung' in corporate ladder stops women from getting to the top: Report 

gradyreese/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A sweeping new study that looked at 329 companies employing 13 million people found that women in the workplace have come a long way in recent years -- but it's not a "glass ceiling" that is keeping women from the top, but a "broken rung" on the corporate ladder.

The annual Women in the Workplace study released Tuesday from and the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, is the largest analysis of the state of women in corporate America and a deep dive into their experiences in the workforce as the fight for gender parity continues.

While the companies they looked at have made great strides to promote women to executive level positions in recent years, the study found that the biggest obstacle most women face with being promoted is that first step up from entry-level roles to manager -- what they dub the "broken rung."

This first "broken rung" is the biggest systemic barrier to gender parity, according to the report.

For every 100 men promoted and hired to management, only 72 women are, the study found. As a result, men end up holding 62% of manager positions, with women just holding 38%.

The numbers are worse for women of color: For every 100 entry-level male employees promoted to manager, only 58 black women are and only 68 Latina women are promoted.

"For me, the biggest takeaway is that we’ve long thought that the glass ceiling was the problem, that there is this invisible barrier on top of the pipeline that prevents people from rising to leadership,"’s co-founder and CEO, Rachel Thomas, told ABC News. "It's really at that first step up into management, that broken rung."

This means "there's fewer women to promote at every subsequent level," she added. "And as a result women can never effectively catch up."

"Until we fix that broken rung, some women may make some cracks in it, but we’re not going to have enough women coming up behind them to really break that glass ceiling," Thomas said.

Alexis Krivkovich, a senior partner at McKinsey and the co-founder of the annual report said their findings are especially important because "so much attention has really gone to the glass ceiling, but the largest number of women affected are women at the beginning of their careers."

"One thing that's interesting is how many companies don't realize that it's an issue," Krivkovich added. "You can't solve the problem until you first recognize that it is one."

"If you don't realize that the imbalance is there it's really hard to put the attention you need to fix it," she said.

Another issue women face on a day-to-day basis in the workplace that men often don't are "micro-aggressions," Krivkovich said.

"These are things like having to credential yourself, being mistaken for someone more junior, being asked to take the notes, being challenged or talked over in conversation," Krivkovich said.

"Women face real headwinds in their advancement," Krivkovich said. "While women demonstrate similar levels of ambition, they have very different day-to-day experiences."

The good news is that the gaze from the C-suite is becoming more female. Since 2015, the representation of women in senior leadership has increased from 17% to 21%, the study found. Meanwhile, 44% of companies have three or more women in their executive level management -- up from 29% in 2015.

Still, only one in five "C-suite executives" is a woman, according to the report. And only 1 in 25 "C-suite executives" is a woman of color.

What working women can do about this

Thomas and Krivkovich urged women not to lose hope, as the data this year holistically has been more encouraging than before.

At the individual level, Krivkovich said there are two things she always tells women to do as they climb the corporate ladder: Find sponsors in the workplace and stand up for other women.

"The first one is to really seek out sponsors and to think broadly about who sponsors, and who really could be a powerful sponsor for you," Krivkovich said. "They don't need to be the people you have the most in common with, they don't need to be the people you share the most interactions with, they need to be the people who can most help you advance and get ahead."

"The second one is it can be hard to be your own champion, it can be much easier to be a champion for someone else, so if you are in those meeting where you see those micro-aggressions, where you see someone talked over," Krivkovich said. "Call it out, because being someone else's advocate helps brings awareness to everybody."

Thomas said to keep asking for those promotions.

"In terms of practical thing that women can do its kind of going outside the bounds of the study itself, it's continue to ask, we know that women ask for promotions even if the don't get it in the moment, we know that they are more likely to get it in the future," Thomas said.

"We know that any women, when they ask for specific amount of money, the outcomes are better, so ask for it and be specific," she added.

As for what companies can do?

"One of the biggest things for me is that companies need to treat gender diversity and diversity more broadly as a business priority," Thomas said.

This means set goals or targets, share your metrics, hold senior leaders accountable and reward diversity in the workplace.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Lay's is releasing a grilled cheese and tomato soup flavor

Lays(NEW YORK) -- Comfort foodies rejoice! One of America’s favorite homemade meals is headed to a chip bag near you.

Lay's is releasing a brand new flavor just in time for fall: grilled cheese and tomato soup.

The new fall-filled flavor hits shelves on Oct. 21 for a limited time run.

According to Lay's, the new combo delivers a dynamic fusion of "tomato taste and buttery cheese with underlying creamy and toasted notes...all in one bite."

Also launching on Oct. 21, Lay's "Gotta Have Lay’s" campaign.

For over a month, Lay's will be awarding five winners a day with a chance to win free Lay's for an entire year.

Fans enter by uploading a photo with the new packaging design.

Two hundred lucky winners will end up snagging 10,000 bags of free chips by the end of the campaign.

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TikTok video of Panera's frozen mac and cheese goes viral

RiverNorthPhotography/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A video of mac and cheese being prepared inside a kitchen at one Panera Bread location has quickly gained attention online.

Whether you go to Panera for the fresh baked breads, soup and seasonal salad or another item, like the popular mac and cheese, the menu at the fast-casual restaurant is understandably, prepared quickly.

The company states on their website that they "believe that good food, food you can feel good about, can bring out the best in all of us," but one former employee's recent social media post has caused some people to question that notion.

TikTok user @briannaraelenee (Brianna Ramirez) posted the video "how Panera prepares mac and cheese" on the music and lip dubbing social media platform with the caption "exposing Panera" set to a man laughing.

The shell-shaped pasta with creamy cheese sauce comes from the freezer in a vacuum sealed bag, gets submerged into boiling water, removed, opened and plated.

The comments from other TikTok users were split.

"That’s how most fast food restaurants prepare the food," one person said, alluding to the prep work so that the food can be served hot in an instant.

"I mean... it’s still good," another replied.

But others seemed insensed by the notion of flash-freezing items for consistent cookery.

"For the price this is dishonest from Panera, they are just a well designed McDonald’s with luxurious prices," someone wrote.

The company did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment, but earlier told The Washington Post, that they “confirmed the TikTok video’s authenticity.”

Panera Bread defended their product to The Washington Post and said the mac and cheese is, “made offsite with our proprietary recipe developed by our chefs.”

“It is shipped frozen to our bakery cafes — this allows us to avoid using preservatives which do not meet our clean standards,” the company said.

After the video went viral, the same TikTok user posted a series of videos in the face of the backlash to defend the practice of heating frozen food and delivered a tearful apology.

"I like my job, I'm really not trying to get fired," she said.

She shared the news on Twitter on Friday that she lost her job, and claimed it was because of the original post.

When someone replied asking how the restaurant found out, she said "it went viral on tik tok and ended up on the news where I live."

Panera has not commented on Ramirez's employment status.

Ramirez did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

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