The Unintended Consequences of a Prank Gone Bad

By now you have perhaps heard about the prank that went bad; very, very bad. If not, you can read about it here.

_home_panew_uk_news 1-1The gist of the story is this: Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, the wife of Prince William, was admitted to a London Hospital earlier this week, suffering from acute morning sickness due to her recently announced pregnancy. Two Australian disc jockeys decided to prank her by calling the hospital and pretending to be the Queen of England and Prince Charles.

The call came through at 5:30 AM London time. A nurse answered the call since at that early hour there was no one assigned to the switchboard. The nurse made a split-second decision to put the call through to the Duchess’ private nurse. Fast forward to this morning when the body of the married 46 year old nurse and mother of two was discovered, the apparent victim of suicide.

As you might imagine, the Twitter echo chamber sprang into action with people hysterically venting their feelings about this tragedy. Something I totally get since I am doing my own venting here.

Having followed the ongoing developments of this story with great interest, I have read hundreds of such vents — some worthwhile, others downright asinine, and still more that were, IMHO, outright outrageous. But amidst this cacophony of worldwide reactions, there was one statement, short and to-the-point, that rose above all others in its importance, one that caught my attention, one that has stayed with me throughout the day. These words are so powerful that I offer them here to you — to read, to consider, to apply, and hopefully, never to forget. Because to me, this gets right to the heart of the matter.

In a reference to the now-deceased nurse, one person wrote:

“Humans are fragile. We don’t know, at any given time, what people may be going through.”

To which I want to shout, HOW TRUE!!!

Yes, people are fragile. Fact is, all people are fragile. All of us. I am fragile. You are fragile. And we never know what might push someone, anyone, over the edge.

Apparently — and I do say “apparently” because it’s way too early to know all of the facts of this nurse’s backstory — Apparently, the notion that her sincerely-trying-to-do-the-right-thing action of putting through the call caused a whirlwind of worldwide press coverage, resulting in undue embarrassment to her beloved queen and family, was just enough to push her over the edge.

What would it take to push me (or you) over the edge? I hope that I (and you) never, ever have to find out.

Point is, none of us is immune to such a push. Which means what? Which means this: There is a reason — a very good reason — why the Apostle Paul made this heartfelt plea to the committed Christ-followers in his beloved little city of Philippi:

“Always be gentle with others” (Philippians 4:5).

Such a simple statement. Such a vitally important — never to be forgotten — statement.

“Always be gentle with others.”

Gentleness, the rarest of commodities in today’s crude and coarsening culture.

I have a feeling that this tragic story will stay with me for quite some time. A constant reminder to me of just how fragile everyone around me truly is. A pinprick of my conscience, a wee small voice whispering in my ears, reminding me always to be gentle.

Perhaps a reminder to you as well.

If so, then this precious nurse did not die in vain.

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