… goes to Steph Strayer, a passenger travelling on a train from Philadelphia who endured two hours of noisy cellphone chatter from a group of men bragging loudly about fooling their “stupid wives” over their multiple affairs. Bored with the blowhards, Strayer snapped a photo of one of them and posted it on Facebook along with a caption that started, “If this is your husband … ” and went on to describe his swaggering boasts. She asked followers to repost, and the image was eventually viewed by 183,000 people. No word on whether one of them was the wife in question, waiting for the lothario at the next stop.
The Heavy Sleeper Award
… goes to drowsy United Express passenger Tom Wagner. When the first part of his two-leg trip to California ended as scheduled in Houston – where Wagner was due to change planes – he was soundly snoozing in his seat. As passengers and crew disembarked, no one thought to rouse Wagner and he later awoke alone in a silent and dark airplane that now had its doors locked. Wagner called his incredulous girlfriend on his cellphone, the airline was alerted and he was found 30 minutes later. Apologizing for the inconvenience and offering minimal compensation, United Express refused to comment on whether flight attendants would be issued with new glasses from now on.
The What’s Your Real Name Award
… goes to Sydney-based Peter Hook, a senior communications executive at Accor hotels, who posted critical TripAdvisor reviews of other hotels under a pseudonym. He wrote about an InterContinental “which was stuck in a time warp and rather expensive” and a Hyatt where “the very ordinary bar food, high prices and ordinary service didn’t match the music or the light show.” But he was not always damning. He loved one property where “staff were fantastic and friendly” and another where “it was noticeable that families from the adjacent Hilton and Sheraton hotels were sneaking in to use the pool.” Coincidentally, these glowing commentaries were for Accor properties. When his handiwork was discovered, Hook stood by his “reasonable” appraisals. TripAdvisor said: “All reviews posted by this member are being removed pending investigation.”
The Just a Little Bit Farther Award
… goes to Wang Shun Xue, who was determined to get the perfect photo on his trip to Zambia’s spectacular Victoria Falls. Snapping away happily, the camera-loving visitor was so focused on the task at hand he did not notice how close he was to the edge of one of the world’s largest waterfalls – until he fell in. Spokesman John Zulu later told the AFP news agency that he was “lucky” to drop only 15 metres: The falls plunge 108 metres at their deepest point. Sustaining just a few bruises when landing on some rocks, the 45-year-old had a quick medical then continued with his trip, presumably keeping one eye on his feet until safely back home.
The I Will Not Steal Award
… goes to the booze-addled wedding guest at Sacramento’s Citizen Hotel who removed a tasteful portrait of a woman riding a cigar from a washroom wall and slipped it into his bag before heading for the exit. Unfortunately for the thief, hotel manager Barent Larkin caught the whole thing on CCTV, used Google and LinkedIn to track him down and then phoned him up. “He sounded legitimately upset about what he did,” Larkin told CBS Sacramento. The police later retrieved the artwork, while the snatcher agreed to Larkin’s demand that he hand-write lines of the following statement: “I will not get drunk at a wedding and go steal the naked picture of a woman on a cigar over the urinal in the Citizen Hotel.”
The Baggage Handlers with Baggage Award
… goes to luggage luggers at Australia’s Perth Airport, who allegedly used bag stickers to form the words “I am gay” on a Jetstar passenger’s red suitcase. The man was shocked when his case rolled off the conveyor belt first with the unexpected commentary appended in large white letters. Married with two children, he confirmed the bizarre story to Australia’s Fairfax Media, adding that, while he had put the incident down to “idle hands,” he did not want anyone fired over the sticker-based heckle. Jetstar, meanwhile, promised a “thorough investigation.”