I want to thank Ken Behrens for doing the right thing

Today's above-the-fold story is a bit of a fun one (well, within context). We'll use it as a springboard for comments. However, it will not be news for some people. For example:

  • Australians;

  • Voracious readers like Understandably's own Kate Sullivan, who finds virtually every news story before I do (granted, she does have a 5-hour head start, thanks to the time difference); and

  • Mr. Ken Behrens, a wildlife photographer and ecologist living and working in Madagascar.

On August 12, the Australian Capital Territory, which is home to 400,000 people and contains the national capital city, Canberra, went on a strict lockdown due to a single new case of COVID-19.

Other parts of Australia have been on lockdown as well, but we're focusing on what's know as the ACT here for two reasons:

  • First, because of a press conference that the region’s top-ranking government official gave after the lockdown was announced.

  • Second, because of a closed captioning error that went sort of Aussie-viral, and gave the entire country a laugh.

What the government official said:

"I want to thank Canberrans for doing the right thing."

What anyone watching the press conference with closed captions saw:

"I want to thank Ken Behrens for doing the right thing."

The bizarre line became kind of a "thing" on social media in Australia—"welcome comic relief," as one writer put it, "for thousands of Canberrans who suddenly found themselves confined to their homes in the middle of a lockdown."

Tweets were tweeted; t-shirts were quickly printed and sold; the local professional rugby team temporarily changed the name on their jerseys from "Canberra Raiders" to "Ken Behrens Raiders."

Australian media scoured the globe for anyone actually named Ken Behrens, finding the aforementioned photographer (who has a rather nice Instagram account, by the way) living on the island roughly 250 miles off the coast of East Africa.

As for the closed captioner—well, actually, he's a big reason I liked this story to begin with, because he absolutely owned the mistake and celebrated it, starting with when he went on Reddit to report that he thought he was responsible for the error.

"I had half a second where my heart sank, and then I sort of read the article and realized everyone was enjoying it so much. And now I just can't stop laughing," he later said. "The best part is trying to see the bright side of any mistake. And this one has the brightest side I could've possibly asked for.”

So here’s to you, Ken Behrens. And as it’s Friday and these open threads have been kind of fun, here’s our call for comments:

Anyone have a story to share about a big public mistake—especially one everyone was able to laugh about later? Let us know.

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