I know there’s many people out there very eager for self-driving cars, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to wait until the technology is ready. And I can pretty comprehensively say that the technology in what appears to be an early 2000s Ford Crown Vic is not ready, which is why one was whirling out of control until a homeless daredevil leapt into action to save the day.
You can see a video recorded by a bystander here; sorry I couldn’t embed it, but you know, life is sometimes difficult.
The alarming scene happened in Lubbock, Texas, when a woman parked her car in a Dollar General parking lot to run into a nearby convenience store. In a pretty significant lapse of judgment, the woman left the car running.
Somehow, perhaps as an homage to past full-sized Ford transmission issues, the car popped into drive, hit a curb, which bumped it into reverse, where it stayed, in gear, and with the idling engine providing enough torque to begin to whip the car around in circles, over and over and over.
An un-piloted car driving backward in circles is, to put it mildly, a huge problem. It’s 1,814 kg of out-of control moving metal, and it’s just a matter of time and chance before it causes real injury and/or property damage.
In this case, any possible disaster was averted by the lightning-fast reflexes of a homeless man named John Vasquez, who was able to jump onto the moving car, open the door while perched on the hood, get inside, and stop it. All while barefoot.
Vasquez spoke with the site Everything Lubbock about the situation:
“I didn’t know what was going on — I heard someone screaming. I saw this car go in circles and I saw a friend of mine try to grab the door and she couldn’t get it. I was barefoot [and] I ran, [and] just jumped on it.”
Vasquez was thanked profusely, but did not get the woman’s name and has not heard from her since.
I’d have hoped Vasquez would have been rewarded for his heroic action in some way — they’re calling him “Homeless Spiderman,” after all. Perhaps someone who knows how to get in contact with him will set up a GoFundMe, or something?
Anyway, fantastic job, Barefoot Spiderman.