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The Most Legen… wait for it… dary Prank Ever

It all started with a picture. This picture, in fact1.

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It was a day not unlike any other. The sun was shining, patients were making payments, and the Patientco office was humming away with the sounds of busy people going about their day-to-day responsibilities. Except this morning a lone employee had this picture waiting on her desk, an event that would kick off months of laughter and confusion and eventually pique the curiosity of the entire office in an attempt to solve the mystery of Neil Patrick Harris.

Chapter 1: The Target

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Meet Cailey. She’s our resident finance guru here at Patientco. Cailey was the lucky beneficiary of our Neil Patrick Harris photo that day. This obviously caused some confusion for her, which was amplified when a coworker unknowingly emulated the gesture pictured a short time later. Although planting the photo on her desk was initially intended as a one-off bit of fun, this interaction sparked something of a devious nature in our merry band of pranksters.

Chapter 2: The Emails

Drawing inspiration from NPH’s character Barney Stinson, emails were soon drafted and sent from a fake account offering Cailey bro tips and general life advice. Although not frequent, the emails were sent just often enough to amuse our pranksters and keep everyone guessing who they could be from. After a few of these, other coworkers in the office started to take notice and become interested in the mystery.

Chapter 3: The Bro Code

Ah, the holidays. Such a wonderful time of year, full of giving spirit and good will for all. What better gift than some life advice from everyone’s favorite star? Cailey returned from vacation to find this delightful bit of holiday cheer waiting for her.

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Chapter 4: Happy New Year

New years bring new opportunities. For pranks, that is. So many opportunities for pranks. Our mischievous bunch decided to turn things up a notch and give Cailey a very special New Year’s surprise. One chilly January morning, Patientco employees arrived to find twenty or so copies of this Photoshop masterpiece pasted around the office. Some of them are even still there!

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But this is where the story turns a little bit harrowing for our heroes. It turned out Cailey was a lot more resourceful than initially anticipated. While an attempt to access the video surveillance cameras in our lobby was unsuccessful, she was able to get logs of whose badges had scanned in and out of the office early that morning2. This led to a couple of close calls, but our pranksters remained calm and collected and made it through unscathed.

Chapter 5: I’m Neil Patrick Harris

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Perhaps because of the close calls, our rascals fell relatively quiet over the next few weeks with only a couple of emails reminding everyone that the mystery hadn’t gone away. Until two weeks ago, that is, when Patientco employees arrived at the office one morning to each find a name tag on their desk proclaiming that their name was now Neil Patrick Harris. In our weekly Monday morning all-hands meeting3, a sea of name tags were all that could be seen. When Bird, our CEO, asked who actually was behind all of this, he was met with a chorus of “I’m Neil Patrick Harris”. Well done, guys! Theories ran wild that day, from Cailey actually pranking herself to an Anonymous-style social movement that was unconnected but all participating individually in the spirit of the prank.

Chapter 6: The Reverse Prank

After much consideration, our little group of masterminds had decided that April 1st would be the appropriate time to reveal themselves to the world. Little did they know that another group of employees had been working hard to unravel the mystery and had hatched a plot to unmask the culprits. At a town hall meeting, it would be announced that employees were required to don Business Formal wear for a client visit the next week (a departure from our typically casual office4). Everyone except those people that the organizers suspected of being behind the pranks were pulled into a series of meetings and informed of the plot. They were all supposed to play along during the meeting, but then dress as casually as possible on the day, leaving our rascals revealed as the only people who had suited up in true NPH fashion. But they miscalculated how deep the group of miscreants ran and included a culprit in one of these meetings.

So here we are now, singing our swan song and pulling back the curtain. It’s been a great ride (some might even say it was legen… wait for it… dary) but all good things must come to an end. We’d like to thank Patientco for being an ever-tolerant workplace that allows us to indulge ourselves in pranks like these between improving patient’s healthcare experiences and the occasional game of ping pong.

Cailey, you’re the best sport there ever was. It’s been incredibly fun and you were always there to throw another twist into our plans and keep us on our toes. Until next time, we salute you.

Sincerely,
Neil Patrick Harris
(Cori, Elise, and Adam5)

  1. Why this picture of Neil Patrick Harris? Some things are just meant to remain a secret… (Please don’t sue us, NPH!)
  2. When you work with patient healthcare data, HIPAA requirements dictate that your office has access control policies in place. We take data security very seriously at Patientco.
  3. We gather at the beginning of every week to go over departmental achievements from the previous week and gear up for what’s ahead of us. Read more.
  4. Seriously, our engineers wear toe shoes…
  5. With a special shoutout to Matt Simoneau, who arrives at the office at an absurdly early hour. He held his silence and eventually became a vital accomplice.