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Old 01-27-2020, 07:10 AM   #1
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Robot
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 239
Default Kobe Bryant and "passengers"

Like everyone else, I am heartsick over the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and either others who died in a helicopter crash yesterday. Among the victims was his daughter and one or two more children.

This isn't a post about Kobe, his accomplishments, etc. But it's about the "passengers."

When first reported yesterday the story was Kobe Bryant and 5 other passengers perished. Later it turned out there were more victims and their names slowly were revealed. And even then they were generally a footnote at the end of the story.

And the truth of course is that no life is more important just because the person is famous. And yet, that's how it's always been reported.

I almost was a victim of that myself.

I was broadcasting for the San Diego Padres. We were in New York to play the Mets. Superstar Tony Gwynn and I shared a cab out to Shea Stadium. At one point in Queens the driver hit an oil slick, lost control of the car and we spun into a 360 degree turn. He was finally able to bring the cab to a stop, no one was hurt, but we were all quite shaken up. (Tony was so rattled that he only went 3-5 that night).

As we resumed our commute I said to Tony, “You realize if we had crashed there would have been news bulletins breaking into every network, huge front page headlines the next day and they all would say, ‘Baseball star, Tony Gwynn and a passenger were killed in a auto accident’.

My entire life would be reduced to “passenger”.

Tony felt bad. And mind you, this was not a ploy to get him to pay the fare (although it worked). He felt it was wrong that one person should be valued over another just because they’re famous. It was sweet of him to say but I was still feeling bummed out. You can’t change the way the world operates, yes it’s unfair, but some people are special and others are just considered nothing. And I fell into the latter category.

We arrived at the stadium. Tony paid the fare and the driver said there was an additional charge. Why? Because he had a passenger. Yes! It turns out my life is not without value! It’s worth $3.50!

My blessings and deepest condolences to the passengers.

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