Some real April fools

Combine Zambonis, ISIS and missing teeth and what do you get? 

Blog Entry April 06, 2015

David Matthews has been chronicling the unexpectedly humorous side of transportation news for his Roads Report column since 2000. The stories are all true.

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Aww, jeez
Hockey, alcohol, a Zamboni and the police—all the makings of a typical winter Friday night in Fargo, N.D. 
 
But this was no NHL game, or even a Coen brothers’ movie. This was a high school girls’ hockey game, and Steve Anderson, part-time Zamboni driver for the Fargo Park District, had tied on a couple too many waiting for the break in play when he and his Zamboni would be called into action.
 
Finally, at the end of the game’s first period, Anderson, 27, hit the ice. Fans became concerned quite quickly when they noticed his Zamboni weaving around and colliding into the boards along the edge of the rink. 
 
Police were called and Anderson was actually arrested for DUI. (Or is that a ZUI?) He also was promptly fired.
 
The game continued after the arrest, but the teams were forced to play on rough ice after no other sober Zamboni drivers could be found.
 
When asked why he was drinking at a high school girls’ hockey game, Anderson reportedly told officers, “Because it was a high school girls’ hockey game.”
 
American hero
Remember your worst day of high school? It probably doesn’t compare to what Lisa Roche’s kids went through recently at their high school in Hurley, Miss.
 
That’s because Roche, 41, was caught burglarizing students’ cars in the parking lot of her kids’ school on a recent Friday afternoon.
 
This wasn’t just a simple case of larceny, though. Roche explained to police that she was actually engaged in a systematic car-by-car search for members of ISIS, the world’s deadliest terrorist group, headquartered in eastern Syria, western Iraq, and apparently now southern Mississippi. 
 
Police said Roche didn’t find any terrorists, but she did nab some sunglasses. Do those sunglasses hold clues to the whereabouts of a Jihadist sleeper cell hiding out in this metropolis of 985 residents? 
 
We may never know.
 
A whole new world
The next time you go shopping for a Chevy, don’t be surprised if the sales team breaks into song and dance.
 
That’s because over the past four years, GM has quietly sent more than 4,800 of its Chevrolet dealers to Disney theme parks for training.
 
It’s all part of GM’s post-bankruptcy strategy to transform car buying into a more pleasant experience. During these three-day training sessions at the Disney Institute in Orlando, Fla., and Anaheim, Calif., dealers learn the customer service strategies that Disney uses to get 70% of its theme park visitors to return. 
 
For example, when customers enter a dealership, dealers are taught to act like theater actors playing the gracious host. And those customers are to be treated and referred to as guests. 
 
GM’s vision also includes renovations to dealerships to help ensure that guests receive a positive and consistent experience no matter which dealership they visit. 
 
Not all Chevy dealers are thrilled with the $2,700 fee they have to pay for each of their team members to attend the training (plus airfare and accommodations).
 
But many don’t have much choice. Dealers are now required to attend the training in order to remain eligible for GM’s Essential Brand Elements program, which pays dealers bonuses for meeting requirements in training, customer retention, digital strategy and facilities.
 
Thankfully, those requirements do not include costumes or conversing with guests in song. Not yet.
 
Pulling a stunt
Distracted driving was the cause of a miles-long traffic jam near Tuscaloosa, Ala., in January. 
 
But this time the driver wasn’t texting or taking selfies; he was pulling out a loose tooth.
 
The driver said he took his hands off the wheel to yank on the tooth, and the next thing he knew, his 18-wheeler was driving off the highway, down a slope into a ditch, and jackknifing into nearby trees. 
 
Fortunately the driver wasn’t seriously hurt, but the effort to recover the truck and haul it away required traffic to be detoured off the highway for several hours.
 
The good news is that the crash wasn’t for nothing. Police said the driver had the successfully extracted tooth in his shirt pocket when he was rescued. 
 
The trucking company that employed the driver took full responsibility for the accident and vowed to review its policies on hiring 8-year-old drivers. R&B

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