As most people now know, last week two Australian DJs impersonated Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles and called the hospital where Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, was being treated for acute morning sickness. They fooled Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who answered the phone and transferred the call, enabling the impersonators to tape, for all the world to hear, personal medical information about the Duchess. A couple of days later Jacintha committed suicide.
Obviously, the DJs are not responsible for Jacintha’s death, but their prank raises an important question: can’t we just be kind? We live in a world in which meanness, deception, and harrassment is well-compensated. The DJs bragged about their success. Until Jacintha’s death, they seemed both thrilled and smug. No longer.
Before we do anything to anyone, it would help to remember these words: “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a great battle.” Would the DJs have made their prank call had they held this sentiment close to their hearts? Would Jacintha be dead and her two teenage children left without their mother? We’ll never know, but the lesson in this is still there for each of us to heed.
Just be kind.