Break the Chain Jada Cohen in...
The Case of the Bogus Billionaire

Created 6/27/2000 (2/7/2003) Our desire to help a child in need can sometimes be so strong that we can see past the insulting tone of chain letters like this one.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Subject: Fwd: If you delete this you have to question who you are...

* * * * * * * * * *

If you delete this...u seriously don't have a heart! This will only take a minute to read and forward. I have lost a child to multiple health problems. I believe that every living soul deserves a chance.

Dear Friends,

My name is Anna Cohen and I live in Albany New York. My daughter Liz recently had a baby girl named Jada 2 months early. Jada has many problems with her heart and lungs and medical costs have become extremely expensive. Jada was recently moved to a hosptial in California and the move was very expensive.

A billionaire in California has promised to give $.05 for every time this email is forwarded. If you wouldn't mind forwarding this to everyone on your list I would greatly appreciate it as well as my daughter and little Jada.

This could save a life. Please have a heart and forward this.

Thank you,
Anna Cohen

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

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This message has been circulating on the 'net since November of 1998. The introductory paragraph has been added in the ensuing years and changes the letter from an annoying hoax to an insulting and insensitive chain letter. A critical look at it reveals several problems:

  • Like most sick child chain letters, what it claims is impossible. There is no technology that can track how many times an e-mail message is forwarded.

  • If Jada's illness was so bad that she had to be moved from a New York Hospital to one across the country in California, wouldn't some legitimate charity have heard about it and stepped in to help?

  • What type of billionaire philanthropist helps a sick child only if an e-mail gets forwarded a certain number of times. Who thinks this stuff up?

While we often mean well when we forward chain letters like this, failure to think critically about it can lead you to inadvertently insult your friends. You may not have written the line that implies the recipient is a heartless clod if they delete this chain, but you "say" it when you send it. Many of my readers have commented on how insulting and annoying this hoax is. Break this chain.

What Do You Think?

Category: For the Kids
References: None

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