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Egging leads to broken hip for 87-year-old grandfather

Original post made by Prank Victim, Barron Park, on Apr 20, 2009

Our home has been the target of teenage boys throwing eggs. Most recently on Friday night we heard the pop of eggs hitting the house and cleaned up the mess on the walls of the entryway. Unfortunately eggs were splattered on more than the house and our 87 year old Grandfather who walks with a walker slipped on the walkway that was coated with slippery egg white. He has a hip fracture. We live in the Baron Park area and our son attends Gunn High School. The boys responsible ride their bikes to our home, they obviously have strong throwing arm's (baseball veterans). We should all speak to our children about the unseen dangers of a prank like this, creating a hazard on walkways can and has caused a serious injury. It seems like a simple prank, with a clean-up job being the only consequence but for an 87 year old it has changed his life.

Comments (28)

Posted by natasha
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 20, 2009 at 10:24 am

that is horrible. If you know who these kids are I think you should speak with their parents. If you don't get any traction in that conversation, imho you should sue for the medical bills.

Posted by Prank Victim
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 20, 2009 at 11:34 am

Parents of kids who bully to this extent imho historically are part of the problem and rarely part of the solution. These are not your every day teenage boys, these are kids who have teased and harassed our son through middle school and now into high school. We have involved the police in the past, it is not the economics of the situation as it is the impact on our family. In the fall after an unprovoked assault by one of the freshmen at Gunn High School, we did go to the police and that young man's family was described by the police officer involved as dysfunctional and in denial of their son's need for counseling and intervention. that young man now has court ordered community service and counseling. Yet the harassment and bullying continues. Bullying and harassment occurs from a group of "in" kids who think it is entertainment to pick on a less popular kid. It is indeed horrible for the victim and the instigator too, I doubt they meant to cause this type of a hazard.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 20, 2009 at 3:36 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Surveillance equipment is moderate in cost and good enough to identify perps. Once you identify them seek both civil and criminal sanctions,

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm

It makes you want to bring back the village stocks so that they could put in there and we could all throw eggs at them!

Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 21, 2009 at 9:36 am

IF you have nice next door neighbors, why not enlist them to keep an eye out for this behavior, perhaps then someone can run out fast enough to confront the perps - they are clearly shameless

Posted by Meth_mom
a resident of Woodside
on Apr 21, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Shouldn't be too hard to find them. Likely they know your kid. If I was you I'd sue the s**+ out of their parents. That's about $500k right there for the hip fracture.

Posted by PA Online reader
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 21, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Prank Victim,

My heart goes out to your family. A hip fracture at any age is serious. At 87, it is life threatening. I hope those boys, sooner rather than later, will comprehend the irreparable damage they've done and feel appropriate remorse. As a parent who has seen bullying behavior up close from many angles, I think it's an incredibly painful and tough issue in which everybody needs help.

Posted by Parent Of Child Entering Kindergarten
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 22, 2009 at 7:01 am


Please fix the bullying problem in your school system. The consequences of this type of behavior can mark the psyche of children for life, to all our detriment. And, its negative effects are not confined to the schoolyard, as Prank Victim's post clearly shows.

Posted by not a prank
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 22, 2009 at 8:42 am

This is vandalism, not a prank. I'm sure that you or your kids know who the vandals are. Ask the police to arrest them. Have the mess professionally cleaned and sue the vandals' families for the costs as well as your grandfather's medical costs. Kids will not learn until they are forced to take responsibility for their actions.

This is not a school issue, this is a parenting issue.

Posted by Soccer Mom
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 22, 2009 at 11:05 am

I am sorry for the injury sustained by your grandfather. However, please do not jump to the conclusion that these were "veteran baseball players" who vandalized your home. Without evidence that is quite disrespectful to the Palo Alto Little League program and to all Palo Alto baseball players. It does not take much special skill to hurl an egg. Most baseball players are in season right now, and if they are like my son, after a full day of school and 2-3 hours of practice most nights are not the likely candidates to be vandals.

Posted by Nat
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 22, 2009 at 12:45 pm

I know that such a fracture in an elderly person can cause that person's death. A neighbor of mine died after such a fracture and this was after months of painful therapy and suffering.

Definitely, if the family knows who the people are that threw the eggs, they should notify the police. And your newspaper ought to run an article describing the unintended consequences of such acts so that children can learn that "pranks" can lead to unforeseen suffering and even death.

Posted by Jim
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 22, 2009 at 1:22 pm

When my daughter was in high school, my house got egged by teenage girls. Then my son went through high school and we got it from teenage boys. My daughter was not in the popular group, but we finally found out who it was (some girls in the popular group who were jealous that my daughter had a father at home). In my son's case, he was in the popular group, and we got it from kids in the unpopular group.

I hated it, because cleaning up all that stuff is difficult and I felt violated, whatever the motivations. All I can say is that it passes.

Posted by jesus
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 22, 2009 at 3:58 pm

i doubt the kids had intent to hurt your grandfather i think they just wanted to prank him. i have tons of friends who egg me as a joke so dont think they went out to specifically harm you and your grand pops

Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 22, 2009 at 9:23 pm

No doubt that the grandfather had surgery and is hospitalized which will cost Medicare about $70K 'retail'. Then there is a rehab center which Medicare will pay for, I think, three months. That's all. After that, if he has to continuethere or go to a residential care facility, that costs about $6K a month and more. These boys parents, if they are smart, have an 'umbrella' policy over and above their home insurance, and these families should definitely take over the out of pocket costs for this gentleman. If they are not, they should pay for it anyway. And these juveniles should be required to help him as much as they can.

Posted by Jim
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 22, 2009 at 10:11 pm

As much as I hate this stuff, I find it over the top to start talking about lawsuits. I think it is more reasonable to sue anybody who has liquid amber trees on their front yards. These trees are a real hazard to both young and old walkers.

These acts of immaturity come from insecure children. I don't think there is any real satisfactory answer to it. It will pass, pretty much over by the senior year. Hang in there.

Posted by John
a resident of Escondido School
on Apr 23, 2009 at 10:33 am

Jim ---- you act as if th econsequences of these beastly children's behavior were of no concern. Their "acts of immaturity" have become acts of assault and battery and maybe of homicide.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2009 at 10:43 am

Egging is vandalism, and it's not cute.

I'm disabled and have enough to worry about, without worrying that some spoiled smart alecks are going to injure or kill me when I go out my front door.

This is not the schools' fault..It's the parents' fault. Great set of values they instilled in the kids. Can't they have fun without hurting someone?

Posted by Appalled at tolerance levels
a resident of University South
on Apr 23, 2009 at 10:59 am

"It will pass"??!! "Just get over it"?!?! That's the sort of attitude that allows these kids to get away with this sort of activity! They should be identified and dealt with - and not with a simple slap on the wrist. We are much too tolerant of this sort of behavior. Unbelievable! "Kids will be kids" - I've got news for you - there are good kids. If you have a kid who does this sort of thing, you are enabling it somehow! Their parents can and should be held financially responsible.

Posted by Big Al
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2009 at 11:50 am

Did you mean they should be fiscally responsilbe?

Posted by nat
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 23, 2009 at 1:31 pm

It would be a very good idea for schools, starting with the elementary grades, to have sensitivity training classes for children. And these classes should not only discuss issues of race, culture, ethnicity, and disabled children, but also issues faced by the elderly and impaired adults. They should be taught about the consequences and pain caused by cruelty towards anyone and taught consideration for people in general. Children need to be taught that pranks can have very cruel consequences. They need to be taught respect and consideration for adults as well as other children and particularly for the elderly and impaired. Schools are better suited for extensive training than parents, particularly parents who are working. Also, teachers may witness bully on the playground which parents don't see.

The other day, a day when children are let out early from the schools, the complete sidewalk by Midtown Walgreen's main entrance was covered by bikes and scooters laid down flat on the sidewalk. It was a difficult maze for me to reach the store. Were I impaired or weak, I could not have done it. I don't know why the bikes were not stood up on their kickstands or why the store doesn't have bicycle racks available. But what appalled me was that the children and store employees had no concern about the walk being completely covered by bicycles. There were dozens. Perhaps someone could explain this to me.

Posted by jb
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 23, 2009 at 5:05 pm

The fact that the kids who egged the house "probably didn't intend to hurt your grandpop" has nothing to do with the severity of the damage or the severity of the judgement that should come down on their heads. The first thing ought to be that they are all introduced to the senior who was injured by their stupid immaturity. Perhaps they could come to the house and do the family's yard maintenance until they have learned how to do it very well.

The rampant arrested development in youngsters even into the twenties can be traced to younger adolescents joining the "teen tribe" around the 5th or 6th grade. At that time their advisors, confidantes, role models become their peers. All questions about the future and "growning up" are referred to the peer group. A classic case of the blind leading the blind, and the end of serious passing of tradition, morals, wisdom, culture. Knowledge shared between the generations becomes endangered.

I suspect none of these young people know an elder in any meaningful way. And it is not popular in the teen tribe or even understood: the law of unintended consequences. It is ALL your bad. You are not too young to be responsible or to be part of the reparation.

Posted by Jim
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 23, 2009 at 5:50 pm

As I said above, once you all get steamed about liquid amber trees, which are much more of an assault on walkers, compared to egging, both old and young, I will start to take you all seriously. But not until then.

I hate egging, and have suffered from it, but it simply cannot compare the those damn trees! Do any of you out there, who are demanding prental control, actually have those threes in your yard, or your neighborhood? If so, what are you doing about it? It is completely irresponsible behavior!

Egging will pass, but not liquid ambers!

Posted by MeMe
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 23, 2009 at 8:51 pm

<< A neighbor of mine died after such a fracture and this was after months of painful therapy and suffering. >>

If the victim of this accident dies these kids are looking at manslaughter charges and deservedly so. I don't know how these "teens" are but there is the possibility they could be tried as adults. It's much the same as driving under the influence, getting into an accident and having one of the victims die.

When an egg-throwing spree results in bodily injury, it's time to sue the bejeezuz out of the parents for all medical expenses plus infliction of pain and suffering and punitive damages, particularly if the victim is elderly and suffered a hip fracture.

And no, I am not a lawyer.

Posted by Stop the bullies
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 24, 2009 at 1:57 am

The importance of punishing the perps is not only to teach them a lesson in what constitutes civilized behavior, but it also lets the other bullies know what is not acceptable. When they read about the punishment, or even just the public disgrace, they get a clear message.
Not all boys become bullies and they need to be taught what is acceptable behavior. Some of them never get over the thrill of this "fun" and go on to more sophisticated bullying.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2009 at 9:05 am

These kids need to be caught and shown the error of their ways. What to them appeared to be a harmless prank has caused serious harm which even now they may be unaware of. If they are getting away with this type of thing, what will they move onto next? For their own sakes as well as for the rest of us, they need to be caught and have some serious consequences. If they can be turned round at this stage then there may be hope. If all they are getting is a high five and congratulations from their mentors, then next time their "prank" may be even more harmful.

Posted by Ellieg
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 25, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I agree that this sort of behavior should be dealt with severely and that the schools should help educate student on proper behavior. I sympathize with both the unfortunate victim and his family who are suffering as a result. Clearly tolerance of this as a 'childish prank' is counter productive and both the parents and the teenagers need to understand this.

I also agree that over grown tree roots, such as Camphor roots, are a similar hazard. My husband fell as a result of an over grown Privet root that had pushed the sidewalk up at least two inches. We called the city about this and they did (eventually) come and dug up and cut all the offending roots on our street. The ultimate answer is to replace trees that have this problem with more appropriate trees.

Native Valley Oaks (Quercus lobata) are well adapted to our soil conditions, are not susceptible to Sudden Oak Death disease, and do well in heavy clay soils. They also tolerate a high water table well. They are deciduous so they drop their leaves all at one time and the leaves are small and decompose easily as mulch or in the compost bin. The so called 'evergreen' trees tend to drop them for a long period needing constant attention.
Most importantly the oaks roots go deep and do not lift the sidewalks. They will need some water, once a month or so if it has not rained for the first year or two but will do very well after that with no water or very rarely if there is a prolonged drought. They are very handsome trees and grow slowly so will not become large enough to be a problem for at least 40 to 50 years. They will benefit from a light mulch of wood chips or their own leaves on the ground around them around them, keeping it about two to four inches away from the trunk where they can cause damage to the trunk. In their wild state tree automatically provide their own mulch by dropping their leaves out away from the trunk and over the root area.

Finally native trees such as the oaks will bring more native songbirds to your yard instead of the excess of crows that are more and more prevalent in our city. The crows prefer tall trees like Eucalyptus and Redwoods and other tall conifers.

Posted by Jim
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 25, 2009 at 1:16 pm


Thank you for your comment. About a year or two ago a local PA woman was killed by tripping over offset cement sidewalks that had been uplifted by tree roots. Liquid amber trees not only have this problem with roots, but they also drop seeds balls designed in hell. I suspect you know what I mean. I have sprained my ankles when stepping on those things. I watched a skateboarder take a nasty tumble when her board hit one of those things. Do you know who, specifically, decided to plant those non-native trees in Palo Alto?

I think it is time to cut those horrible trees down! It is a much more important safety issue than egging. I like your idea of replacing them with native oak trees.

Posted by ellie gioumousis
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2009 at 12:38 am

I am sorry Jim, but I do not know who was responsible. I was horrified to read that a woman was killed by tripping over one of the damaged sidewalks. I suspect it was one of the city arborists who picked them for the fall color. I think that they are no longer recommending them for both the roots and the horrible pricker balls but they do not like to cut down mature trees unless they are requested to do it.

I think it would be necessary to get a petition to ask them to get rid of all of them and even then it would be difficult. The arborists also do not believe in planting native oaks as they told me 'They do not do well here' Unbelievable!!. What do they think was growing here before they all got cut down for firewood?

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