A Texas veteran sprang into action last week when he saw what he believed to be a man dangling from the roof of an Austin home.
As it turns out, the man was a Clark Griswold dummy in a Christmas display.
“I was trying to get him down any way I can,” Alfred Norwood Jr., 65, said, according to USA Today. “Except when I started talking to him, he never said nothing! Then I thought, ‘Oh my God I hope he’s not dead, lemme call 9-1-1.’ “
The Heerlein family put up the display to pay homage to the 1989 classic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, in which Chevy Chase’s character, Griswold, is left hanging from the roof of his family’s home while trying to put up Christmas decorations for a neighborhood contest.
The entire incident was caught on the Heerleins’ surveillance camera.
In the video, Norwood, who was heading home after dropping his wife off at work, is shown running up to a ladder under the dummy’s feet, screaming “please hold on!” He’s then shown adjusting the ladder before yelling, “Alright. Can you reach it? Can you reach it?” Naturally, Norwood got no response from the decoration and began yelling for help.
“I was in a panic. My heart was beating so fast,” Norwood told the Washington Post. “I had to struggle to try to get the ladder loose and by the time I got it untangled, I was thinking to myself that he hadn’t said anything. I was thinking he’d been electrocuted.”
Chris Heerlein, 35, told the Post that he was out of town when the incident occurred and his wife was with their children. But when the couple watched the surveillance footage later, he felt “terrible.”
“[Then] I started laughing out loud,” he told the publication. “It’s nice to see there’s good quality people out there.”
The Heerleins tracked Norwood down and gave him a gift card for his good deed. Since then, they’ve put a sign that reads: “Clark G. is part of our Christmas display. Please don’t call 911.”
Now, although Norwood can find the humor in his mistake, he said he’ll likely never live the mishap down.
“My wife said it was a dummy saving a dummy,” he recalled.
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