Say you're a high school athletic director and you're watching your school's team play a soccer match on the home field when you notice the father of one of the players with a movie camera recording from the sidelines.

There's an elevated platform on the side of the field, about 15 feet high, that offers a better view of the proceedings, so you approach the dad documenting the event and let him know that he's welcome to climb up there and get a better perspective.

The doting dad eagerly accepts the offer, climbs the ladder to the top of the platform with his camera, and gets amazing shots that he couldn't possibly have gotten from the ground.

You didn't have to make the school's platform available to a parent. It was a random act of kindness. Or maybe it was a routine act of kindness, if you're the kind of person who's always thinking of others, trying to accommodate them and see that their needs are met.

In any case, you've been proactive in reaching out to a parent and enhancing his enjoyment of his son's participation in the school's athletic programs. You've done a nice thing and you deserve to be recognized as an exemplary ambassador for the school.

What could possibly go wrong?

You already know, don't you?

Yes, the dad falls off the platform and hurts himself.

Unfortunately, this is not a hypothetical situation. It happened to soccer dad Michael Railey at Huntington High School two years ago. Just last month, he filed suit in Cabell Circuit Court against the Cabell County Board of Education.

There was nothing wrong with the platform. It was what it was, but Railey, according to his own account, after he'd finished shooting, suffered a spasm in his leg as he began to descend the ladder, lost his footing, and fell.

As noted American author and diplomat Clare Booth Luce famously quipped, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

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