The Darwin Awards

2004 Darwin Awards

Next Prev Random Honoring Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool--by removing themselves from it.

Cold Call
2004 Darwin Award Winner
Confirmed True by Darwin

(20 January 2004, Ventnor, New Jersey) A high school student accidentally dropped his cell phone from the Dorset Avenue Bridge. Fortunately the river had frozen over, so the phone landed on the ice, apparently intact. To a dedicated cell phone user, losing one's phone is like losing an appendage. And what loyal friend would not try to retrieve your arm or leg if it had somehow fallen off a bridge and landed on thin ice? The survival of our species depends on mutual support.

Two days later, Bruce, 17, volunteered to fetch the phone. He figured the ice, which was only an inch thick in places, was strong enough to hold him for the rescue mission. Another friend urged Bruce to give up and go back to shore. "I can do it," Bruce insisted.

A bridge attendant also warned him to stay off the ice, but, as his mother explained, "It's just something Bruce would have done." The attendant rushed to his post to call the police. He was on the phone when a bystander told him that someone had fallen in. An officer arrived at the scene moments later to find Bruce partially submerged in the 35-degree water. The officer dashed to his car for a rescue buoy. When he returned, Bruce had already gone under. His body was recovered the next morning.

Bruce did not die in vain. The cell phone was recovered.

(10 February 2004, New York) Exactly three weeks later, 18-year-old Lina, of Queens, jumped onto the subway tracks to retrieve her new cell phone just as the V train was rounding the corner into the Grand Avenue station. She apparently expected to hop right back up onto the platform, five feet above the tracks, but after two attempts, she was still stuck. As the lights of the oncoming train shone in the tunnel, two men tried to pull her up, but she was knocked out of their hands as the train rushed into the station, emergency brakes squealing. She died along with her cell phone.

Reader Comments:
"Let the cell phone go!"
"And we think our cell phone bills are high!"
"Proof that using a cell phone causes brain damage?"

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Submitted by: Kevin Eliasen, Jimi
Reference: Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Post; New York Daily News

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