I am a very sick little boy

I just got an email (again!) informing me that I was specifically chosen to become the steward of a widow's inherited $7.5 million. I'm sure you've received similar emails asking you take care of an orphaned African child with a huge monetary allowance.  It made me think of the following "plea" for help.  It pokes fun of our continued gullibility in the internet age.  Some purportedly forwarded this to friends asking if it was true!

I am a very sick little boy. My mother is typing this for me, because I
can't. She is crying. Don't cry, Mommy! Mommy is always sad, but she
says it's not my fault. I asked her if it was God's fault, but she
didn't answer, and only started crying harder, so I don't ask her that
anymore. The reason she is so sad is that I'm so sick. I was born
without a body. It doesn't hurt, except when I go to sleep.

The doctors gave me an artificial body. My body is a burlap bag
filled with leaves. The doctors said that was the best they could do on
account of us havin' no money or insurance. I would like to have a body
transplant, but we need more money. Mommy doesn't work because she said
employers don't hire crying people. I said, "Don't cry, Mommy," and she
hugged my burlap body. Mommy always gives me hugs, even though she's
allergic to burlap, and it chafes her real bad.

I hope you will help me. You can help me if you forward this
e-mail. Dr. Johansen said if you foward this e-mail then Bill Gates
will team up with AOL and do a survey with NASA. Then the astronauts
will collect prayers from school children all over America and take
them up to space so that the angels can hear them better. Then they
will go to the Pope, and he will take up a collection in church and
send the money to the doctors. The doctors could help me better then.

Maybe one day I will be able to play baseball. Or maybe just
use my lungs and heart, when the doctors make them. The doctors said
that every time you foward this letter, the astronauts can take another
prayer to the angels. Please help me. Mommy is so sad, and I want a
body. I don't want my leaves to rot before I turn 10.

If you don't foward this e-mail, that's OK. Mommy says you're a
mean heartless person who doesn't care about a poor little boy with
only a head. She says that she hopes that you stew in the raw pit of
your own guilt-ridden stomach. What kind of wretched person are you
that you can't take five lousy minutes to forward this to all your
friends so that they can feel guilt and shame for the rest of their
day, and then maybe help a poor, bodiless nine-year-old boy?


Please help me. This really sucks. I try to be happy but it's hard. I wish I had a puppy. I wish I could hold a puppy.


Thank You.


Billy 'Smiles' Evans,


The boy with just a head.


And a burlap sack for a body.

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Jeff Vankooten is a speaker and author focusing on the power of resilience to effectively engage the challenges of change. He helps leaders, businesses, and organizations develop the skills necessary to thrive in an increasingly unpredictable business environment.
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