Maybe I am missing something here. There are always Urban Legends floating around. Some are pretty far fetched, some sound like they could be true. But it seems there are people that tend to flip out over them.

Take this one, recently circulating out of the Omaha, Nebraska area:

“I just received this email from a credible source (family). I wanted to pass this on for all to reference as a safety precautionary.

Hi - I wanted to pass this on ASAP this morning. Nicole’s mother (Karrie) was at the post office at 84th and Center on Wed. She was in her car. An older woman came up to the car door and was speaking Spanish and was motioning for her to roll down her window. All of a sudden she grabbed the door handle and tried to open her car door. At the same time - a man appeared at the passenger side door and tried to open that. Karrie’s doors were locked THANK GOD. After the police were called and this was reported - the police told her that they are doing this all over the city. While you are being distracted on one side of your car - there will be someone else trying to get in on the passenger side. DRIVE WITH YOUR DOORS LOCKED AT ALL TIMES.

STAY ALERT AND LOOK AROUND. THIS HAPPENED IN BROAD DAYLIGHT AT A VERY PUBLIC PLACE - A POST OFFICE! According to the police - this is happening several times a day in West Omaha. They also said these creeps have tried leaving notes on cars. When you stop to take the note off your windshield and read it - it gives them time to run up on you. Sorry to send this. I know it is scary - but I thought everybody should know. HEADS UP. LET EVERYBODY KNOW ABOUT THIS.”

I don’t know about you, but after reading it, here are my thoughts:

Yet another reason to make sure your car doors are locked. I always do, cool.

I don’t really care if the report is 100% accurate. I read it, I didn’t fall into an uncontrollable panic, I just took the story as someone making an illustrated point to warn people to lock their car doors. Is locking your car door so bad?

Am I wrong? Is my marketing mind-set taking over my rational thinking? I just don’t see much harm in conveying this warning. Which makes more of a lasting impression, the simple statement “Don’t forget to lock your car door” or the short e-mail story above?

I think the story makes the statement more real to a reader. True or not.

Now if the story stated space aliens attempted to carjack a woman in Nebraska, I’d have to raise the BS flag…

So now this original story prompted all kinds of attention from the local media.

The local Omaha newspaper and TV station reported at least a couple reports claiming the e-mail caused unnecessary panic and was altogether UNTRUE. First Omaha police got all bent out of shape because the e-mail said carjacking only occurs “every once in a while”, not as often as the e-mail depicts. Not in their fair city!

Then after further investigation a few days later they stated the original facts “weren’t even close” to accurate.

Apparently they found a sort of similar report that happened on a Thursday, not the Wednesday mentioned in the e-mail… and the person’s name was actually spelled Carrie with a C, not Karrie with a K… perhaps the man never touched the car, but he was close by and walked away with the woman outside of the car…

Then something about Carrie with a C called 911, not the police like the e-mail said.

Give me a break.

Ok, I hate spam e-mail as much or more as the next guy, but I’m guessing it was a slow news day for all of this attention. I suppose if this story freaked out the residents of Omaha into an uncontrollable panic, there are other underlying issues of greater importance that should be looked into.

I’m sorry, did I say Omaha? I meant Miami. Just kidding Miami, don’t panic!

Just lock your car doors, where ever you live. Because I said so.

And don’t take candy from a stranger, I’d tell you a story about it, but then Memphis would fall into utter chaos.

Sigh.

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