Every day we hear about people doing silly things, which make us laugh or in some cases make us shake our heads. Most of us probably know one or two people who have done a few things, which have caused us to stand gaping in awe. In fact there is even an institution created solely for the purpose of awarding people for doing the silliest of things: the Darwin awards as these honours are called, and have been around since 1985. They are named in honour of Charles Darwin, who spent his life trying to prove that we will inevitably become extinct.
One of the people who should have been voted to receive one of these awards is James Elliott, of Long Beach, California. James decided he would rob a bank and after tucking his trusty 38 caliber revolver into his trousers proceeded to drive to a predetermined location and walk to a nearby bank. He patiently waited in line and approached the teller, handing her a note and pointing his gun. A security guard saw the action and yelled for James to drop his weapon. Quickly, James turned the gun toward the security guard and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. Dumbfounded James turned the gun toward himself and looked into the barrel to see if there was an obstruction. He tried to trigger again. Need we say more?
A chef in one of Zürich, Switzerland's finest restaurants filed a claim with an insurance company after he nicked his finger with a meat cutting machine. After a lengthy analysis the insurance company finally decided to send one of its claims officers to investigate. Upon arrival the executive was promptly ushered into the kitchen and shown the machine. After careful explanation by the Chef when asked what happened, the claims investigator duplicated the action also nicking his finger. Needless to say, the claim was approved.
A bus driver in Zimbabwe was given the task to transport 20 mentally challenged patients from Harare to Bulawayo, a six-hour journey. The heat of the day and the stress of the cargo were wearing on the driver and he decided to pull into an illegal, local watering hole and have a drink. He returned to the bus, eager to continue the journey and was dumbfounded when he realized all of the patients had run off. Fearful for his job and not wanting to admit ignorance he drove the empty bus to a nearby village and pulled up to a bus stop. He offered everyone a free ride to Bulawayo and delivered the passengers to the hospital. He told the staff how excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies the patients were and promptly left. His deception went unnoticed for three days.
Many stories come out of America’s deep south, especially the bayou country of Louisiana, however, this one has to be one of the best. A man walked into a Circle K convenience store and placed a $20 bill on the counter. When the clerk opened the cash drawer the man showed his weapon and demanded all the money be handed over to him. The clerk cleaned out the cash drawer for a total of $15 and gave it to the man, who quickly ran from the scene, leaving his original $20 behind. If you do the math you'll appreciate the saying ‘Crime Does Not Pay’
It was five o'clock in the morning and a man walked into the Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan, demanding all the cash in the drawer. The clerk refuses his request explaining he could not open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings the clerk explained they weren't available for breakfast and he would have to order something else. Frustrated, the would-be thief left the building.
And of course we always leave the best for last. Times are tough and the price of gasoline is certainly not helping people. One man in Seattle, Washington had a solution to this problem and stealthily creeped up to a motorhome which was parked on a suburban street. He was carrying an empty gas can and a black hose and was about to siphon gasoline from the trailer. Police arrived at the scene, only to find the would-be thief curled up on the sidewalk, complaining of stomach cramps and nausea. Spokesman for the police said the man had admitted to attempted robbery of the gasoline, but had somehow inserted the hose into the motorhome’s sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, stating that he had not laughed that hard in a long time.
Sadly, all of these stories are true. The names may have been changed to protect the guilty. If you know of anyone who has committed similar offenses please let me know and perhaps they too will one day see their name in print.