Thanks to some Yanks, a Louisiana man traveling on business in New York City died unexpectedly following a sneeze that was not blessed.
The 35-year-old man, whose identity has not been released pending family notification, reportedly sneezed “three or four” times when exiting his hotel yesterday to which not one single person responded with a “bless you,” a customary response from people in the man’s hometown of New Orleans.
New York authorities have said the man suffered what seems to have been a heart attack.
“He sneezed and when no one said ‘bless you’ he started hyperventilating,” Gilbert Boudreaux said, a New Orleans transplant who’s been living in New York for nine years and saw the victim’s last moments.
“He sneezed a few more times thinking maybe the first one wasn’t loud enough for others to hear but still not hearing any blessings after those next few he collapsed and died right there. His heart must have waited for the blessing that never came.”
The Louisiana man reportedly was on his first trip to the Big Apple and had not prepared for any potential cultural differences.
“Back in NOLA, it’s an involuntary response that makes people think you care even if you really don’t. It’s who we are and what we do,” Boudreaux noted. “In New York, you’re lucky if people notice enough to spit on you. I feel weird if I don’t say bless you after someone sneezes.”
In response to the unfortunate incident, New Orleans religious leaders have stressed the importance of blessing everyone you come across for every sneeze within eyesight or earshot — no matter your standing with God or level of holiness — to ensure the long-term protection of all souls.
“If someone sneezes or cough-sneezes, you say ‘God bless you,'” Reverend Anthony Alan of St. Tax of Exemption Church in New Orleans said.
“Even if you think it may have been a fart, that’s not for you to decide. You still say bless you. Sharts are between that person, God, and their undergarments to sort out. Otherwise, that Gesundheit could become a Gone-sundheit.”