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2000 Personal Accounts
The Darwin Awards salutes the spirit portrayed in the following personal accounts, submitted by loyal (and sometimes reluctant) readers. Next Prev Random


Robot Reaper  
2000 Personal Account

I heard this story back in the early 80's. A company that produced nuts and bolts decided to get ahead of the game and automate their warehousing. They installed a 'robot' which was basically a computer-controlled forklift that stored and retrieved bins. It had no 'eyes' or other sensors to tell if somebody was in its way, and since it traveled 25 mph, it was fairly dangerous.

The people who designed the system did not want a killer robot on their hands, so they enclosed the entire warehouse in a high barbed wire fence. They put a large "dead zone" around it with wide red stripes and "Danger" painted on the ground. The gate was designed to stop the robot dead in its tracks the moment it was opened. It was also impossible to close it again from the inside.

Foolproof? No! Fools are so ingenious.

Our hero worked for this company, and needed a couple of bolts from the warehouse. Instead going through normal procedures, he decided to get them himself. He also wanted the robot to continue working, though we will never know why. Whatever the reason, he went to some trouble to set up a rope and pulley contraption that allowed him to close the gate from the inside. After thus insuring that the robot was still operating, he tried to get himself some bolts, but instead got a Darwin as the robot ran him down.

His wife sued the company for millions and won. © 1994 - 2020
Submitted by: William Herndon

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