There have been a lot of recent news stories that make us just sit back in awe. April was full of them, and some were more publicized than others. Let’s look at the stories that were not so publicized, under five categories that organize the absurdity thematically. The five things which prove this month that life is not fair are: Health, bosses, craziness, wealth, and school. It was certainly an eventful month.
After a heart defect led 12-year-old Oregon student Isaac Arzate to collapse during a basketball game, subsequent reparative surgeries were considered to be a big success. Of course everyone was happy that Arzate was against considered to be a healthy young boy. But three months after the collapse on the basketball court, Arzate collapsed yet again while playing baseball. It’s not clear whether he was told by a doctor that it was okay to play sports, but unfortunately he was pronounced dead later that day.
In Auckland, New Zealand, an African elephant killed a zookeeper who was caring for her in the zoo. The elephant was retired after three decades of participating in the circus, and only moved to the zoo four years prior. More information on the woman killed will not be released until her family was notified. It’s always sad to see someone who cares so much for someone else to end up their victim; but there is limited information on what preceded the death, so for now we are in the dark about what happened.
Don’t you hate it when you hit “reply all” instead of just “reply” in an e-mail? Well that’s kind of what happened at the insurance company Aviva Investors, when they were letting someone go. “I would like to take the opportunity to thank you and wish you all the best for the future,” the email said, along with the standard protocal for making someone redundent. Except it wasn’t sent to that single employee, it was sent to every Aviva Investors employee worldwide – all 1300 of them. Hopefully the employees were actually doing their work and not checking emails, because only 20 minutes later, a second email made an apology and a correction. Presumably, this saved the company from an embarassing amount of computer-shaped holes in the walls by angry ex-employees.
So at least Aviva Investors were nice enough to fix the situation promptly. If only we were all so lucky. Some demand loyalty, others expect it, and others just hope for it. So with loyalty in mind, ask yourself what you would do for your boss. If you feel loyal enough, you may go beyond the call of duty, just like Deborah Stevens from New York did. She donated her kidney so her boss would move up the transplant waiting list. After taking some time off to deal with the pain, she was demoted. When she complained about this, she was fired. Stevens is now taking up the matter in court.
After Canadian husband Ved Parkash Dhingra brutally murdered his estranged wife in 2006, it was ruled by a lower court that he would not get her term life insurance quote. But the Appeal Court of Ontario overturned that ruling, because he was deemed insane at the time of the murder. “If a person found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder is not ‘morally responsible’ for his or her act,” the court said, “there is no rationale for applying the rule of public policy.” They say that it was an error for the earlier judge to rule the case as a second-degree murder. So if a man is considered insane at the time he murders his wife, he is legally allowed to collect on her life insurance policy. Ahh, welcome to justice.
Some people are considered lucky. And then there’s Virginia Fike, from Virginia. She bought two lottery tickets, and won. I mean… she really won. …BOTH of her tickets won. Matching five of the six Powerball numbers, this lucky lady took home a two-million-dollars prize. Fike apparently will use the money to pay bills and care for her parents. So hopefully she appreciates the money that she receives. Not everyone does.
25-year-old Amanda Clayton from Michigan was on food stamps until her luck turned around when she received half a million dollars from the lottery game show “Make Me Rich!” …And then she kept receiving food stamps.
But don’t judge her. No no, let’s leave that for the real judge. Indeed, she was arrested and is being charged with welfare fraud. What does she say about this? “I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn’t, I thought maybe it was OK because I’m not working.” I love how instantly a woman struggling on food stamps moves from poor to entitled so immediately after becoming wealthy. A verdict of up to four years in prison may change her tune.
When his otherwise quiet and harmless autistic 10-year old child was reported to have become violent against a teacher, Stuart Chaifetz took notice. Such serious allegations came completely out of the blue, and Chaifetz was concerned that something may have been setting his son, Akian, off. Unfortunately, Akian does not seem to have the linguistic capabilities to express what was happening, but Chaifetz saught professional help. After a behavioral psychologist not only failed to find a source of any apparent outburst, he could not even provoke Akian into any anti-social behavior. So Chaifetz sent his son to school one day wearing a wire, and recorded over 6 hours of school audio.
As it turns out, Akian was being bullied, humiliated, and laughed at. But it wasn’t by a student. The school is, after all, entirely special-needs institution. No; the bullying came from the teachers. Some of the things that were said would have gotten the teachers fired if there was even a single student who could verbalize what they were hearing. But how many teachers do you think actually lost their jobs? You can find out in the video Chaifetz posted onto YouTube below:
Now for an unrelated story from New Jersey. Years ago, on May 16th, a known school school bully punched another innocent student in the abdomen. It was just another day of bullying for seventh-grade victim, Sawyer Rosenstein. He had been complaining for a long time that this had been going on, and recently wrote to a guidance counselor that it was getting worse. It all changed, however, when he woke up on May 18th with a scream. He could not move.
Suffering from an “incredibly rare injury,” Sawyer would begin his life with a paralyzed body. Flash forward to today, and the amazingly resilient and inspirational 18-year-old Sawyer is optimistic, saying “I can’t go back and change the past. What I can do is look at what I have now and what is ahead of me. I have my whole life ahead of me.” Last week, the Rosensteins were awarded $4.2 million from the school district; but as their attorney said, “there is never enough money in the world that could compensate someone who is paralyzed.”
It’s hard to end an article like this on a positive note, and I don’t really intend to. But at least I’ll try to leave you with a small sense of justice, if not a diminished faith in humanity.
Last year, when 19-year-old Texas prom queen Angie Gomez told her friends and classmates in January that she was dying of cancer and had only six months to live, they wanted to support her. She asked for money to go to “Achieve the Dream Foundation,” a charity that generously… well, that’s the thing. It’s fake, she’s not sick, and she accepted around $17,000 in gifts and donations.
Sorry, let’s be clear here… she was allegedly too sick to make the real prom date, so the entire school scheduled a second prom entirely in her honour, in June. When people started to realize that… well, “she ain’t dead yet”… they started to get suspicious, and an investigation began. Last week, Gomez was finally arrested, and the details came to light. It’s exactly what you expect – she wanted money and is a horrible person. She now faces a felony charge for starting a fake charity and falsely claiming to suffer from cancer. She’s also being held on a $50,000 bond.
So what do you know? Sometimes life really is fair.