Boys' Prank Leaves Mom Fighting for Her Life


shopping cartOn Sunday, Marion Hedges, 47, was out shopping for Halloween candy for underprivileged children at her local Costco in East Harlem, New York. As she, a prominent philanthropist, and her 14-year-old son (some reports say he's 13) were walking back to the parking garage, a shopping cart came tumbling down on her from four stories above. She's currently in a medically induced coma, fighting for her life.

As horrific as the tragedy is, it's even worse because it wasn't just some random accident in which she was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Instead she is near death because two 12-year-old boys reportedly thought it would be fun to push that cart over the ledge.

As a mother, this story terrifies for many reasons. The first is how in just mere seconds, life can change or end so quickly. One minute you're shopping and chatting with your son, and the next your life hangs in the balance and you may never see him again. Hedges also has a 14-year-old daughter, and the emotional trauma of this event for her entire family is unbearable to contemplate. The boy, who witnessed the whole thing, will likely never erase those horrifying minutes from his mind.

Beyond putting myself in Hedges' shoes though, I also think about the mothers of the boys who made this horrible, horrible choice. There are so many big things I worry about my children getting involved in as they grow, like drugs, driving dangerously, and other self-destructive behavior. But sometimes it's the little things that scare me the most -- things like getting caught up with a crowd, going along with a prank that 99 times out of 100 would be harmless, but one time it goes horribly wrong. I think back to my own days at that age, and how many bad choices I made that could have had dire consequences. I got lucky, but will my children?

And no, it's not all about luck, and this was definitely more than a prank. It's about teaching our children to make good choices and right from wrong and all of that, but we know they don't always embrace what we teach them, not every time. And what if that one time, it's something like this. We can say they would know better, but will they always do better?

That doesn't mean I feel any sympathy for these boys and what they did. It was a heinous, irresponsible choice, and they're old enough to know better. Though it doesn't appear they intentionally tried to hurt anyone, The New York Post reports that they showed no remorse and were laughing afterward. If that's the case, then I feel nothing but rage. Others, however, told the paper they're "good boys," and I want to believe they are, that no one could be that callous. Regardless, their action -- even if it's the only "bad" thing they ever did -- is irreversible. Their lives and, most importantly, that of Marion Hedges, will forever be changed because of it. And that terrifies me.

Do you worry about your children making little choices with big consequences?

Image via Stevendepolo/Flickr

behavior, in the news, boys


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hotic... hoticedcoffee

Honestly, unless the two boys have demonstrably low IQs, I don't believe they didn't intend to hurt anyone.  I hope they're charged criminally for this - it was totally foreseeable that someone would get seriously injured, and the fact that they laughed about it tells me they're dangerous.

I hope Hedges is able to recover.  So sad.

miche... micheledo

I do.  Children need to know that their 'harmless' decisions can have tragic and lasting consequences.  I have even heard in some states that streaking gets you listed on the sexual predator list.  One tiny moment of foolishness can destroy your life or someone eles's. 

I hope these boys face some consequences, even if it is just community service.  They need to get an understanding of the seriousness of their decisions - even if they are 'good' kids and remorseful.

nonmember avatar dakota

I dont think they should be punished they dint mean to hurt anyone and also i hope the lady recovers

James Allen Mangas

You think they shouldn't be punished because they didn't mean to hurt anyone? They were f'ing laughing about it? The only time they showed remorse was when they were caught. They had to be ratted out of another kid, a kid who obviously knew right from home. Not only should they be charged as adults for attempted murder, assuming their victim survives, but their parents should be charged with neglect for allowing their children to run around unsupervised.

Colette Mayfield

The boys need some big consequence to come from this.  I think community service would probably be best if they are indeed good kids who made a stupide decision b/c they still have "kid-brains".   But there needs to be some sort of punishment. 

abbys... abbysBowMaker

They may not have meant to harm anyone but they are old enough to know that a falling grocery cart can hurt someone. And as I would say to my kids playing with one in a store: "This is not a toy! It's not for pushing off a four story structure." Since they did something wrong that should have consequences to pay. A woman did nothing and is paying life's major consequence. They need to get more than a slap on the wrist! I think community service is a great thing. They may not have meant to hurt anyone but they did. That's why it's called an accident.  Although an extreme comparison, people who drink and drive are not drinking because they want to kill someone but it happens all the time!

abbys... abbysBowMaker

@James - I agree with the parents taking some responsibility too!

nonmember avatar Liz

Even if this woman lives, she'll never be the same. Although it would be amazing, I doubt she will ever be able to make a full recovery. The punishment these boys receive will never be enough.

Krist... KristinRox

Until this article I hadnt thought of the small choices that make big consequences idea. I was more worried about bad crowds and drugs. This is another thing to add to my list though. I pray to God that I can teach them that things they do can make a big impact on someone. i feel bad for Marion and her family. I also feel horribly for the parents of the 12 year old boys.. they must feel responsible for the entire incident. Im just going to pray for Marion, and hope that things get better for her.

nonmember avatar blh

How is pushing a cart on someone from four stories up a prank? Unless they're like extremely stupid they knew what would happen.

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