How Our Reader's Quip Became a Lutheran Event Hashtag

July 19, 2015, 10:09 AM by  Alan Stamm

Colleen Hasten of Grosse Pointe isn't a comedian, but she has a clever way with words -- as shown by her seven-word description of Lutheran teens wearing bright orange, blue, green and yellow T-shirts during a national gathering here.

"It looks like a Skittles factory exploded," the 1998 University of Detroit Mercy graduate commented Thursday afternoon under our Facebook link to coverage of the five-day Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Youth Gathering event.

We updated the article with that line and another reader comment ("They are insufferably cheerful," posted by Jason Marker), and figured that was that.

We won't dilute the word miracle by using it in this context, through what happened reaffirms our faith that social media works in mysterious ways.

Just before 10 a.m. Friday, a reader named Teri Griffith posted this at the gathering's Facebook page, which has 27,000 fans: "My favorite comment that I have seen posted by a resident in Detroit: 'It looks like a Skittles factory exploded.' "

That put Hasten's line in play. The event's social media team tweeted it to 9,100 followers Friday afternoon: 

Bishop Michael Rinehart of Houston played it forward Saturday morning from Detroit to his nearly 2,000 followers in the Gulf Coast Synod, which includes Louisiana:

Later Saturday, participant Sue Luppert posted on Facebook: "I will forever think of this Gathering as the Skittle Explosion."

Another amusing validation comes from librarian Linda Jerome of La Crosse, Wis., who adapts Hasten's quip for a hashtag about 28 hours after our reader's original Facebook post:

The newly popular hashtag also is superimposed on a Hart Plaza overhead crowd photo (below) shared by Paul Harrington of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in Southlake, Texas. 

We know a good thing when the Internet points it out, so our original Thursday headline (Why Downtown Detroit 'Is Going to Look Like Disney World for a Few Days') now says Why Downtown Detroit 'Looks Like a Skittles Factory Exploded'  

Thanks, Colleen . . . and take a bow!

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