When life gives you lemons

Don’t give up until you’ve turned them into lemonade

David Matthews / October 02, 2019
David Matthews
Despite failing his driving test for the 20th time, the man known as Ireland’s worst driver says he’s not giving up.

Ray Heffernan, 69, failed most recently in August, telling the Irish Sun that “the instructor couldn’t wait to get out of the car.” 

The retired plasterer has been driving for decades with a learner’s permit and believes that his spotless driving record proves that he’s better than his tests indicate.

“If I’m that bad a driver I shouldn’t be alive today,” he told Ireland’s The Herald. “But I am a good, safe driver—I am a lot better driver than some of the lunatics on the road today with full driving licences.”

Nonetheless, Heffernan admitted that he did make one or two mistakes during his test.

“I looked at the sheet and there were marks for failing on roundabouts, observation, changing lanes, clutch and gear control, turning left, moving off.” 

Still, Heffernan has taken the Department of Transport to court eight times to challenge his failed tests, losing each time.

His most recent appeal was thrown out after testimony from his driving tester that Heffernan ran a red light, to which Heffernan offered this revealing defense: “No, I did not because it was green. It had to be green because I followed another car so if I broke the red light, they did too.” 

GIVE ME SOME SUGAR

Riding the city bus is rarely a pleasant experience, especially during the summer. But a Toronto bus driver found a way to sweeten the experience for his riders.

Spotting some local kids working their side hustle at a lemonade stand, the driver made an unscheduled stop to buy a batch of cookies, which he then handed out to his passengers.

He returned three more times during the day to treat his passengers and deliver the kids some serious dough. 

The kids told blogTO.com that while they never learned the driver’s name, they were able to thank him with some free goodies. 

THE BIG EASY

When a huge pothole in New Orleans was left unrepaired for two years, residents found a unique way to fix it up. 

Hoping to “call attention to one of the larger potholes in the neighborhood,” resident James Collier listed it on the popular accommodation-sharing website Airbnb. 

Classifying it as an “earth house,” the pothole was described as “open air living, with the comforts of rural camping—including a few early-morning yelps from local coyotes.”

The listing began generating attention almost immediately, so Collier posted a request to his neighbors on Facebook for furnishings for the pothole, now dubbed “Homer’s Hideout” in honor of Collier’s Homer Simpson doll that had taken up residence in the “property.”

Over the next few days, neighbors dropped off several items to complete “The Simpsons” living room décor, including a miniature couch and TV, guest seating, houseplants, a hat and beer for Homer, and even a chandelier suspended from an overhanging tree.

Collier described the effort on Facebook as “a tongue-in-cheek call for accountability from the city,” and it worked. 

The Airbnb listing remained online for three weeks, long enough to generate enough social media attention for the city to take notice. Just three weeks after the listing was published, a crew of city workers arrived to fix the street. 

“Just talked with the crew that cleared out Homer’s Hideout for repair, and they said the awareness created by furnishing the hole helped get them reassigned from curb repairs in Metairie,” Collier revealed on Facebook.

The Crescent City has a colorful history of goading officials into addressing infrastructure repairs. 

In 2017, residents threw a “Pothole Party” inside a 12-ft crater that consumed the entire width of a street. 

And who can forget “Sinkhole de Mayo” in 2016 where hundreds of people partied near a 30-ft-wide sinkhole in the middle of busy Canal Street?

Both events attracted enough media attention to spur the city into action.

Residents of Metairie have taken note and are now planning their own pun-filled event to bring attention to their half-finished curb repairs.

About the Author

Matthews has been chronicling the unexpectedly humorous side of transportation news since 2000. The stories are all true.

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