In West Auckland, a jovial jest orchestrated by an employer took an unprecedented turn, skyrocketing a young New Zealander’s 21st birthday into the global spotlight overnight.
Jack Sparrow was expecting nothing more than the usual birthday routine. Little did he know that he was to become the main character in a far-reaching joke with him as its target.
The prank in question—an elaborate scheme dreamt up by Sparrow’s boss, Brendon Day—began innocently enough, manifesting itself in the form of a roadside sign in Kumeu adorned with Sparrow’s photograph. The sign urged passersby to wish Sparrow a happy birthday, even considerately providing his mobile number for the convenience of well-wishers.
Initially entertained by the odd text or two from unknown senders, Auckland natives quick to join in on the jest, Sparrow soon found himself inundated with a deluge of messages, including texts, calls, and voice mails – a storm he later compared to being hit with a “tonne of bricks.”
What started as humour between locals rapidly escalated in a manner of extraordinary proportion. Photos of the sign sprung up online, escalating into shares among community groups on a national scale.
Stumbling onto the escalating madness, Sparrow was initially left bewildered by his sudden, unexplained popularity, only to be enlightened about the situation during a conversation with a persistent mystery texter.
Despite the tumult, the pranking did not end there. One audacious jokester sent Sparrow on a wild goose chase to find the sign at an incorrect location. Upon locating the real sign, Sparrow made the decision to bring the spectacle to an end personally, setting out to dismantle the sign.
However, this development brought him into a surprising encounter with the police who happened by just as Sparrow was embarking on his mission. A deep sense of dread washed over him until a wave of laughter echoed from the police officers’ car, leaving them chortling their way along.
After recognizing his boss’s signature style in the photos of the sign, Sparrow made an unsuccessful attempt to contact him. The resulting notoriety had him shutting his phone down for the most of the day, as it struggled to keep up with the unrelenting torrent of messages, including well over 500 unread texts, over 30 missed calls, and numerous voice mails.
While the deluge of messages from an assortment of countries may have initially been a source of bewilderment, this young Kiwi found some moments of unexpected delight among the digital chaos, like voice messages and songs being sung in multiple languages, and cheerful messages from across different generations.
Day, Jack’s boss, even admitted apprehensions about the potential wrath of Sparrow. Meanwhile, Sparrow continues to entertain a steady influx of messages from around the world, amused by the fact that many of them playfully reference the eponymous character from the iconic “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series.
Interestingly, his mother, Michelle Sparrow, affirmed that the coincidental name predates the movie’s release. The peculiar name has often led to a few chuckles here and there, but nothing compared to this unexpected comedic hurricane. Even though she was not part of the initial plan, Michelle admits to having enjoyed the quirky turn of events.
Despite the hilarity of the situation, Jack Sparrow has a vengeful twinkle in his eyes and a determined plan to pay his boss back. The message is clear to his instigating boss: “Watch this space.”