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Stop! In The Naaaaame Of OW!

, , , , , , , | Friendly | February 1, 2023

I’m a college student. To save money, I drive to a friend’s house near campus, park, and bike the rest of the way instead of paying for a park-and-ride pass that starts at a ridiculously far away location. 

Due to the traffic, student driving, and general chaos in our town near the university, it’s a given that if you bike, you will eventually get hit by a car. It all boils down to how severe the accident is. After six years of biking at least twice a week, nearly every week, I let my guard down for a moment and got hit. 

A car was pulling up to a stop sign while I was in the bike lane and, a bit annoyed at a previous encounter with a driver parked and idling in the bike lane a block back, I mentally told myself, “This guy is going to stop.” A moment later, as I was perfectly aligned with his oncoming bumper, I thought, “Aw, s***, he’s still coming.”

The next minute saw me extricating myself from my mangled bike, several onlookers running over to check on me, and the panicked driver getting out and yelling about not seeing me at all.

After doing a quick check of myself and only finding a badly gashed hand and a scraped knee, I sat up and, in a moment of shock and anger, spat the first thing that came to mind.

Me: “Dude, don’t you know what a f****** stop sign is?! God d***!”

A police report, a trip to the ER, and an insurance scuffle later, I got a nice card post-insurance claim from the driver. He apologized for running the stop and offered to pay for my bike repairs. He also included, word for word, the definition of a stop sign from Wikipedia.

Really Phoning In That Phone Pick-Up

, , , , , | Friendly | January 22, 2023

When I get off the bus at my usual stop, I spot something shiny on a bench. Upon closer inspection, it turns out to be a relatively new iPhone. By the looks of it, the phone must have slipped out of someone’s pocket when they were waiting for the bus. I stand there for a moment, debating whether I should just leave it and hope the owner comes back for it or take care of it and try to track down the owner.

As I’m standing there, a text message pops up on the locked screen.

Message: “This phone has been lost. If found, call [number].”

All right. That makes things easier. I call the number from my own phone, and a young woman picks up. I can hear another young woman in the background.

Woman: “Yes?”

Me: “Hello, I’m [My Name]. I just found a cell phone.”

Woman: “You found it?”

Me: “Yes, it was on a bench by [Bus Stop]. I live nearby, so I can hang on to it if you want to come and pick it up.”

Woman: “We’re in [Other Town] right now. Can you bring it to us?”

I laugh, thinking she’s joking.

Me: “I just came from there, and I think one visit is more than enough for today.”

Woman: “Pleeeease? We’re on our way to a party, and my friend really needs her phone.”

I stop laughing. This woman is actually expecting me, a complete stranger, to pay for a two-hour round trip to another town to bring her a phone that her friend forgot.

Me: “Okay, here are your choices. You can pick up the phone at my house, which is a two-minute walk from the bus stop. I can mail it to you, at your expense. Or, I can turn it in to the police and you can pick it up there. Pick one, or I’m just going to leave the phone here on the bench and forget I ever saw it.”

Woman: “No, no, no! Don’t leave it! We’ll come pick it up!”

Me: “Okay, I’ll hold on to it, then. I live at [address]. When can I expect you?”

Woman: “The party starts at eight. I guess we’ll be back in [Hometown] around two?”

Me: “In the morning? I’ll be asleep by then. Can you come by tomorrow?”

Woman: “Ahhhh! Why does this have to be so difficult?! We’ll be in touch tomorrow, I guess. But my friend really needs her phone right now. What if something happens and she can’t call her parents?”

I explain to her, in the kindest words possible, that it is not my problem. I explain to her that I will take care of the phone for now, but if I don’t hear from them the next day, I will turn it in to the police. There is some extended whining on the other end of the line before they hang up.

I get home and start cooking dinner, and then I get a call from an unknown number. 

Me: “Hi, it’s [My Name].”

Man: “Hello, I’m [Man]. I understand you’ve found my daughter’s lost phone.”

Me: “I believe so. I spoke to a couple of young women earlier, but I didn’t get either of their names.”

Man: *Sighs* “Yes, that would be them. We live two blocks away from you. Can I come by and pick it up?”

Me: “I’d have to see some proof that it’s actually your daughter’s phone, but okay.”

Ten minutes later, a man rings my doorbell and introduces himself as the man I spoke to on the phone. I bring the iPhone, and he confirms that it is his daughter’s and proves it by unlocking it with the code she has provided.

Me: “I’m so glad we could find an easy way to do this. They wanted me to bring it to them in [Other Town].”

Man: “Sorry about that. My daughter called me from her friend’s phone and complained about it. Her brilliant solution to the problem was for me to pick it up and bring it to her.”

Me: “Will you?”

Man: “Absolutely not. My wife and I are having the night to ourselves and we’ve both had a drink before dinner. [Daughter] knew when she left that we wouldn’t be available to drive anywhere. She keeps telling us she’s an adult now and can do whatever she wants, so that means she gets to live with her mistakes, as well.”

One Locked Car Door Away From Becoming A “Dateline” Special

, , , , , , , | Legal | January 16, 2023

It was a cold morning in November when I was headed to work and blew out a tire. I safely navigated the car to the side of the interstate — for which I’m very thankful — and put my hazard lights on. With no spare tire in my trunk, I called roadside assistance and got an ETA, and then I called work to tell them I would be in as soon as possible.

As it was not quite 4:00 am, it was still dark. I was waiting for the tow truck when a man wearing raggedy clothes and covered in dirt knocked on my window. I have seen way too many movies to just trust someone who walks up to my car.

Me: “Yes?”

He motioned for me to put the window down.

Me: “Are you with [Wrong Towing Company]?”

Man: “Yeah. Open the door.”

Me: “Go away.”

I purposely named the wrong company to see if he would correct me. When he didn’t, I started filming. The man pounded on the window and tried to open the door, which I had already locked. My voice was still calm and firm but my heart was racing. 

Man: “You f****** b****! Open up!”

Me: “You need to leave.”

Man: “I’m with [Wrong Towing Company]! Now open the door!”

Me: “So, where’s your tow truck?”

Man: “Open the door!”

He kicked my car’s panel and pounded the window.

Me: “The police are on their way.”

This was a lie, but the man left. I watched him in my mirror as he crossed the divider to the other side of traffic and disappeared into the woods beyond.

When roadside assistance arrived, I told them about the encounter. The man driving the tow truck drove me to an auto shop to get a new tire and then to the police station to make a report before taking me back to my house.

The man outside my car was known in the area, apparently homeless and addicted to drugs. I never heard anything more about him, so I assume he’s still out there somewhere.

That’ll Teach You To Pee On Some Innocent Tree!

, , , , , , | Legal | January 4, 2023

When I was a teenager, I sometimes drank alcohol, and though it is illegal to give or sell alcohol to teenagers, technically, it is not illegal for teenagers to drink here in Sweden, though many think of it as equivalent.

Two friends and I were having some drinks on a very small pier by a lake one evening. We also brought some food, like sandwiches and fruit; it was like a picnic, with alcohol involved.

The beach was a very small one; however, if you continued along the lake, there was a big beach not far from this one. There were no houses nearby and, as such, the empty beach felt like a very isolated place, so we talked and had a lot of fun.

At one point, one of my friends was peeing up by the woods, and we saw two flashlights approaching the beach. She came running down to us, still putting her skirt in place.

Friend #1: “It’s the police!”

Both my friends started to panic. I told them to calm down, having been taught that the police are just doing their jobs and are not out to get us like some people seem to think.

As the police arrived, I smiled at them. I couldn’t really see their faces seeing as it was dark, and they were behind flashlights, but I could see enough to see that they were in uniforms.

Me: “Good evening.”

Police: “Good evening. We’ve gotten a call about a disturbance. Apparently, a bunch of teenagers are drinking, screaming, and having a big, loud party. Do you know anything about that?”

Me: “No, we are just having a picnic, and it is just the three of us. If there is a party, I hear it is usually over by the big beach.”

Police: “Oh, we see. But you are drinking.”

Me: “Yes, we are.”

My friends were pale; they didn’t say a word.

Police: “Is everyone all right? Does anyone need to go to the hospital?”

Me: “No, I don’t think so.”

I looked at my friends. They still didn’t say anything, but frankly, I didn’t think any one of us was beyond tipsy.

Me: “We’re fine.”

Police: “All right, well, be careful. Here by the water, you can fall in, and if you do, you might not get out; it is cold at this time of night, and your body might go into shock. You are quite far away from the road, so it would take time for help to get here.”

Me: “Yes, thank you. We’ll be careful.”

Police: “All right, well, have a good evening, and don’t hesitate to call if you need any help.”

Me: “Have a good evening!”

Then, they left, and my friends looked at me.

Friend #2: “Wow! You were so calm!”

Me: “Well, there was no reason to worry. Worst case scenario, they would’ve taken our drinks.”

Then, we started wondering what disturbance they had come for. We would’ve noticed a big party, seeing as some people would’ve most likely gone past our beach to get there. Also, we should’ve heard it.

Looking out at the lake, we saw the lights of the houses which were basically on the other side of it. We concluded that someone probably heard the echo of three girls laughing over the water and felt that it disturbed their evening.

A Lowering Tide Lowers All IQs

, , , , , | Right | January 3, 2023

I work for a beach patrol in New Jersey. Someone walks up to my guard stand looking a bit nervous.

Beachgoer: *Whispering* “The water has slowly been receding for the past few hours. I think there’s a tsunami about to hit. I’m whispering because I don’t want to scare other people around us, but you have to do something!”

Me: “We’re not at risk of a tsunami; that’s just the tide going out.”

Beachgoer: “What’s a tide?”

Me: “Oh, boy…”

They knew that water receding from a beach could mean a tsunami but they didn’t know what a tide was? I worry about our schools.