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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hacker or Virus (computer) (12/15/11)

TITLE: Disgruntled Employee Gets Revenge
By James Brown


Headline: Woman fired for saying Merry Christmas to customers.

“Hello, this is John Hacker. I’m sitting here with Marylyn, wondering why her boss so maliciously fired her for such a miniscule infraction.”

“Well John,” Marylyn interrupted. “I can’t say for sure, but I think he hates Christmas.”

“But isn’t he the one who instigated the holiday decorations, including the Christmas tree?”

“Holiday tree.”

“Excuse me, Marylyn. What was that?”

“He wouldn’t let us call it a Christmas tree. It was a holiday tree for the happy holidays.”

“So I guess this had nothing to do with company policy?”

Marylyn snorted. “That’s what he kept repeating. Company policy dictates that we can’t use the word Christmas. I guess they’re afraid of offending someone.”

“Let me make an assumption here.” He held up his finger. “You knew about the policy and decided to defy it by saying Merry Christmas to all your customers. Correct me if I’m wrong.”

“No, you’re right. But last I knew we were still living in America with freedom of speech. Why can’t I say Merry Christmas to my customers?”

“Hold that thought for a minute and answer me this. How many times did your manager censure you for breaking this rule?”

Marylyn looked at the floor and whispered, “Eight.”

“And how many reprimands does company policy dictate?”


“So,” John pressed, “He went beyond what was required before firing you.”

“Well . . . I guess so, but he could have overlooked it. No one complained. In fact, I garnered quite a following because of my stand . . . which lead me to my act of defiance.”

“And what was that?”

“I decided that since the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ got me fired, the company should never forget it.” Marylyn smiled. “You know all those signature pads at the checkout counters?”

John nodded.

“Well, I hacked into the main server and programmed the pads to flash ‘Merry Christmas’ in a large, bold font every time someone had to sign for their purchase. Before they reached that point though, I thought it fitting if every TV screen in electronics flashed ‘Merry Christmas’ instead of the usual promotional content. As an added touch, all TV’s and stereos played the song ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’ at full volume.”

John leaned forward. “Is that all?”

“Oh no. For my final tribute, I sent a virus to my ex-manager in an email.”

“What kind of virus?”

“A cute little creation of mine. It attached itself to every email he sent. When the recipient opened it … you got it, the screen blinked a bright red and green and flashed a slivery ‘Merry Christmas’ for all to see.”

“And that is why you now spend your days in a tiny room with bars for walls.”

“Well John, sometimes you have to be willing to go jail for what you believe.”

John turned to the camera. “To say ‘Merry Christmas’ or not. Marylyn decrees you should say it at any cost, so I’ll allow her to close this segment.” He turned to her. “Marylyn?”

“Merry Christmas everyone . . . and a happy new year.”


“Well Marylyn, thank you for going on record to share your story. Before I leave though, let’s go off the record.”

“Off the record?”

“Yeah. You stood up for your rights and got your message across to hundreds of thousands.”

Marylyn nodded.

“In all that time, how much thought did you give to Bill, your manager.”

“He caused all this. You better believe I thought a lot about him.”

“But didn’t he go out of his way to keep you from being fired?”

“I guess, but it didn’t do any good.”

“No, because despite extra warnings and looking the other way numerous times, you still stuck to your right to free speech.”

“You better believe it.”

“In all that time, did you ever think to pray for him?”

“Oh . . . well . . . no, I guess not.”

“I spent eight months sharing the Gospel with Bill, finally reaching the point where he agreed to go to church with me Christmas day. Then you hacked into the system . . . He sent me one of your ‘Merry Christmas’ emails and said to forget about church; because of you, he wanted no part of it.”

Marylyn shrank into her chair. “Oh no.”

“So, in the end, you won and got your message across . . . but at what cost?”

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This article has been read 545 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Allison Egley 12/29/11
Oh, I like this. A great way to illustrate how we can go overboard in sharing our message.
Jenna Dawn12/29/11
I liked the idea behind this story and I how it took a twist at the end to show how we can go too far. However, I found it a little unconvincing that the journalist interviewing the ex-employee turns out to know her boss. Maybe if some mention would have been made about that earlier on.

Other than that, it was a nice story and held my attention. :)
C D Swanson 12/30/11
Good story and nice twist with knowing the boss. I really liked this. Thanks.
God Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/04/12
Love, love love this! the ending took me by surprise and that doesn't happen very often. This is such a great message that everyone needs to hear.
Linda Goergen01/04/12
Great read! Lots of food for thought here! Well written!
C D Swanson 01/05/12
Congratulations - God Bless~
C D Swanson 01/05/12
Congratulations - God Bless~
Amanda Brogan01/05/12
Whoa! Nice twist at the end. It leaves the reader with the message that we should be careful with how we "witness," and be discerning on what truly makes a difference and what just causes trouble.

Congrats on your Highly Commended piece!