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John Just Wants To Go Home For Christmas
Status: Hoax
Here's a sob story that was reported by the Brazosport Facts:

A boy named John, 10, separated from his mother since the hurricane, was living with other foster children in an emergency shelter, and he had one Christmas wish: to go home. "But there's no way I'll get gifts for Christmas. I don't even believe in Santa anymore," he was quoted as saying.

Quite touching, except John doesn't exist. He was invented by a caseworker with state Child Protective Services in Brazoria County near Houston. The caseworker was evidently hoping to use the phony sob story to drum up charitable contributions. The hoax was discovered by Dan Lauck, a reporter for a local TV station who tried to track down John to interview him.

This, of course, is not the first time a sob story has been invented to tug the heart strings as Christmas approaches. Fake sob stories have actually become something of a holiday tradition. Four years ago I started to put together a list of fake Christmas sob stories (plus a few Xmas pranks). I never got that far with my list. I should add Poor John to the list.
Identity/Imposters
Posted by The Curator on Sat Dec 10, 2005
Here in Texas, the Brazosport paper is considered second only to the Weekly World News in reliability.
Posted by Big Gary in Maypearl, Texas  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Sat Dec 10, 2005  at  01:54 PM
Real or imagined, when it all comes down to it, ALL the sob stories drummed up in the name of charity are a crock o' shit. I have NO sympathy for New Orleans residents who "lost" everything. They were given plenty of warning to pack their belongings and get out. Most chose not to heed the warning, and instead stuck it out till it was too late, some even throwing Hurricane Parties. Now the government gets blamed for slow response, and you and I are expected to pick up the ticket for their stupidity. Those people chose to live down there. They knew the weather, for the area. I can tell you this, living here in Missouri, if a small tornado touched down and wiped out just ONE families home, it would not make the worlds news. A families life is still devestated, but they'd pretty much be forced to face the devestation by themselves, no charity would save the day for them. I know, my brother was living in Gun Barrel, Texas. A tornado came across the lake, took the roof off the house across the street, leveled his house and then was gone. That was ALL the damage done by this twister. He was forced to face all the paperwork and recovery himself just to get his house back. No charity came to his rescue, no sob story in the paper, no blame to the government for slow response, gas prices didn't shoot throught the roof to help balance the loss to the local economy. Life went on, and so will the lives of those who survived Katrina - including those who were living in New York, Chicago, Joplin, Denver, etc. when Katrina hit - as we were all devestated in one way or another by this hurricane. For those of you who think your local economy wasn't effected by this hurricane in one way or another ought to do your home work and find out. You may be surprised to find out truth...
Posted by Christopher in Joplin, Missouri  in  Joplin, Mo  on  Sun Dec 11, 2005  at  09:00 AM
Christopher, I agree with you to a point, but a huge number of people in New Orleans (and area) had no cars, yet the evacuation plans pretty much read "tell people to drive out of town." It's hardly a wonder they didn't leave; they didn't have the means.

As for the sob stories, and the case listed here, why in the world does someone need to make up a story? There are more than enough sad cases that can be documented easily!
Posted by cvirtue  on  Sun Dec 11, 2005  at  09:32 AM
Wasn't this an episode of WKRP?
Posted by Craig  on  Mon Dec 12, 2005  at  08:00 AM
Even if they did evacuate, it still doesn't change the fact their houses are going to be destroyed and they might not have enough money to buy a new one or have anyone else to stay with.

I think you're oversimplifying things a bit to make your point.
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Mon Dec 12, 2005  at  02:04 PM
I need the scientifics on this... what is it as human beings makes us give in to unfourtunate stories? Sure we've got sympathy but why does this trigger it? And if unaffected are we cold hearted? Brain leaking chemicals here we come...
Posted by Blood For Nothing  in  Somewhere in the Arctic  on  Mon Dec 12, 2005  at  06:09 PM
Christopher, I don't know how many displaced Louisianans and Mississippians you're hosting there in Missouri, but here in Texas our shelters and motels are still full of people who DID pack up and leave when the hurricane was about to smack them (and then endured a 3-day-long traffic jam, since the roads weren't built to handle everybody driving in the same direction at the same time). Unfortunately, they couldn't pack up their houses, their jobs, and their support systems, all of which were pretty much wiped off the face of the earth. If you don't think this calls for some sympathy and effort to help them (as your brother's case does too, of course), I wonder what planet you're from.
Posted by Big Gary in Tornado Alley, Texas  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Mon Dec 12, 2005  at  06:33 PM
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