In an instance of Christmas decorations gone wrong, a “man” hanging off a roof in Austin, Texas, prompted a panicked 911 call from a concerned passerby.
According to a USA Today report, the Heerlein family in Austin wanted to win their neighborhood lights contest so they decorated with a memorable and infamous scene straight out of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Part of the recreation included a hapless Clark Griswold hanging from the roof while putting up the twinkling lights display.
To create the look, the family purchased a dummy and donned it with a Clark Griswold mask, and they even recreated the Griswold clothing using finds from Goodwill. Add a rigged up tipping over latter, and behold the scene was set — for panic that is.
Things went sideways, though, about a day after the Heerleins put up their fun Christmas lights display. A person going by the house panicked and called 911 while emploring the “man” hanging from the roof to hang on. The entire mixup was caught on the Nest Cam video, too.
The concerned passerby even tried to put the ladder back into place to save the hanging man. Eventually, he called 911 to prevent tragedy. The setup was that realistic. It turns out, the man in the video is a retired veteran named Alfred Norwood, Jr., according to an ABC News report.
A police officer from the Austin Police department responded to the frantic 911 call, and of course, figured out in the end that the scene was part of the holiday lighting display. Apparently, this isn’t the first time the department experienced this type of emergency call only to arrive and find out it was not a real person in danger.
Even so, the situation still nearly caused the good Samaritan a heart attack with worry. That prompted the family to put a sign at the bottom of the rigged ladder that reads, “Clark G is part of our Christmas display please do not call 911.” Hopefully next time it scares somebody, that sign can help defray the situation.
The family also felt terrible about the passerby’s ordeal, so they reached out to the concerned citizen to thank him for his concern. “We’d love to be able to find him and reach out. We have a very special gift that we would like to give him, and we’d like to tell him thank you,” family member Leah Wheless said.
Alfred ended up seeing the humor in the situation once he realized nobody was actually in danger. “I was trying to get him down any way I can. Except when I started talking to him, he never said nothing!” Norwood said over the phone, laughing. “Then I thought, ‘Oh my God I hope he’s not dead, lemme call 9-1-1.'”
The family thanked Norwood for his concern with a gift card.