Claim: Prayers are requested for Avi Ben Stella, a 12-year-old car crash survivor now in a coma.
Examples:[Collected via e-mail, August 2009]
PRAYERS NEEDED for 12 yr old Avi Ben Stella who, after a serious car crash, is now in a critical coma. Pls. change your status for 1 hr so more people can become aware and add to the prayers. We would do it for your son, pls. do this for somebody else's son. Thank you.
A 25 August 2009 variation changed the name and age of the child:
PRAYERS NEEDED for 6 month old Hayden Wybron, who after a serious car crash is in a coma. Please change your status for 1 hour so more people can become aware and add to the prayers. We would do it for your child! Please do it for someone else's.
A 27 August 2009 variation changed the name and age of the child yet again:
This one's for Stephanie and Ronald. Prayers needed for 11yr old Ronald Mason who was struck by a hit and run driver in Everett Sunday night. He is in a critical coma. Please change your status for 1hr so more people can become aware and add to the prayers. We would do it for your child.
While 11-year-old Ronald Mason was injured in a car accident on 23 August 2009, he was never in a coma, is now improving, and has been released from intensive care.
A 3 September 2009 variation changed the name and age of the child yet again:
Prayers needed for 12 year old boy, who after a serious car crash is in a critical coma. Please change you status for 1 hour so more people can become aware and add to the prayers. We would do it for your son or relative, please do this for somebody elses. Thank you. Please copy this and past for ADRIAN CRONIN.
Origins: This prayer request for Avi Ben Stella, a 12-year-old said to have been severely injured in a car accident, began circulating on 17 August 2009. It apparently references 12-year-old Avi Amenov (or Babayev; it's reported both ways), who was injured in an automobile accident on 12 August 2009 and expired four days later.
The boy had been riding in the back seat of a silver BMW that was racing a
Lexus in Queens, New York, when the BMW clipped the Lexus and spun out of control before crashing into a parked van, and firefighters had to cut through the car's roof to get Avi out. The youngster had suffered a broken pelvis, thighbones, brain swelling, and trauma to his head and torso. The two teens accused of drag racing were charged with second-degree manslaughter in the death of the 12-year-old boy.
As for how Avi Amenov (or Babayev) came to transform into Avi Ben Stella, "ben" is the Hebrew term for "child of," thus Avi Ben Stella mean prayers are requested for Avi, the son of Stella. That phrasing is standard for Jewish prayers on behalf of the sick.
It might also be worth noting that appellation also happens to be the name given to the "hoax" of the moon landing in the 1960s for those who didn't believe it was real.
Last updated: 3 September 2009
Celona, Larry. "Boy Hurt in Drag Race Dies."
New York Post. 17 August 2009.
AP. "Two Queens Teens Charged in Drag Race That Killed 12-Year-Old Aviv Babayev."
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
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