Frosty Got Run Over By a … Bus?

Forget “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” The video to watch this winter season is “Frosty Got Run Over by a Bus!

What began as a “harmless” prank of placing a snowman in the middle of the street led to the unfortunate termination of a Champaign–Urbana city bus driver. After the footage of the “hit-and- run” incident went viral on YouTube, officials of the transit company met with the guilty employee and facilitated a “quiet resignation.” Although company officials did not elaborate on the cause of the termination, I suspect the YouTube video was the guilty culprit.

Many Chicago residents blamed the pranksters for the unfair termination of the bus driver and others censured him for running-down Frosty at 30 mph. After viewing the video, YOU decide: who is at fault?

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The incident not only raises the issues of pranks and wintry-driving, but more importantly of moral courage. Why did the transit company feel the need to fire their employee in such a surreptitious manner? Was it because they caved to public pressure and embarrassment, but knew that their actions were wrong? If they believed that the pranksters were to blame, why didn’t they stand up for their employee?

In an age of technological advancement, it seems as if our notions of “right” and “wrong” are now governed by media and mob mentality. There is arbitrariness to what goes viral on YouTube, and when something morally ambiguous is exposed, the knee-jerk reaction is to allay controversy, in this case, by firing an employee.

The real question is: if someone builds Frosty and no one films his demise, does anyone get fired? I think not! So why is the Chicago transit company so swayed by the power of YouTube? Is it disturbing that our actions no longer align with our moral convictions, but rather with our preoccupation over public image?

As Frosty’s remains lay cold on the ground, let’s take a moment of silence to ponder.