A slightly off-color Christmas display in Texas caused an elderly veteran to panic this week, after he believed the mannequin included in it was real. The Heerlein family in Austin structured their ostentatious display as a representation of the comedy film “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” hanging the doll-like version of Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold off of the roof. That’s what prompted the elderly man to go on a rescue mission to get it back.
• The veteran in question, identified only as, “Alfred,” was apparently out on a walk when he saw what he thought was a human hanging from the roof. “Oh mister, please hold on!,” he shouted, rushing to the home in an attempt to assist before the assumed human fell off.
• A video captured by a neighbor’s camera shows Alfred dashing up towards the house and frantically trying to find a way up. After shouting for help, he called 911 – only to be informed it was nothing but a doll.
• The elderly veteran spoke with KVUE news about the incident a short time later, explaining his fears and why he made the mistake. “”I was trying to get him down anyway I can. Except when I started talking to him, he never said nothing!” he said. “Then I thought, ‘Oh my God, I hope he’s not dead, lemme call 9-1-1.”
• For their part in the incident, the homeowners have not only apologized to the neighborhood but also to Alfred. They also put up a highly visible sign at the base stating, “Clark G is part of our Christmas display please do not call 911.”
• Misuse of 911 is a crime, but it’s difficult to really call this misuse when Alfred truly believed he was doing the right thing. Perhaps the better option here would be to remove the hanging mannequin altogether. What do you think?