#2. A Bus Driver Is Fired for Rescuing Cops
Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images
George Daw is a school bus driver in Long Island, New York. On August 1, 2011, a severe thunderstorm blew in, and while most drivers weren't keen on braving the weather, Daw had teenagers he needed to get home, and he took his bus driving job very, very seriously. So seriously that, when he drove past a police car that was stranded and sinking beneath the waves, he rescued the officers like some kind of bus driving Bruce Willis and drove them back to their precinct.
Daw was then promptly fired for giving some drowning officers a free ride.
This pretty awesome dude. Cracked loves you, George.
Apparently, the Educational Bus Company that employed Daw takes bus driving very seriously as well. So much so that their ruling was that you can't just deviate from your route to pick up a bunch of unscheduled passengers. Not even if they're police officers. Not even if they're police officers trapped in a sinking car in the middle of a hailstorm.
The statement released by the company simply noted that it's against company policy to pick up unscheduled passengers, in the name of the children's safety. And that's fair enough -- we're sure that there's some kind of predatory animal out there that is able to disguise itself as three drowning police officers. We probably ran that one in an article just last week.
After some bad PR, the bus company did eventually give Daw his job back, with a note of praise for his rescue of three police officers, as well as a stern warning never to do it again ever.
Then they promptly shrunk his bus and cackled maniacally.
#1. A Security Guard Who Thwarts a Terrorist Attack Is Labeled a Terrorist
Richard Jewell was an ordinary security guard on duty at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when, completely out of the blue, some serious Die Hard shit started to go down. In the middle of the Olympic festivities, Jewell noticed an unattended backpack beneath a park bench. Of course, an unattended backpack will often just contain the lunch of some absent-minded professor. This was not one of those times.
Discovering that the backpack contained three fully active pipe bombs set to go off, Jewell was thrust into the kind of situation that is a bit above a security guard's pay grade. But rather than collapse into a quivering, hysterical mess, Jewell calmly took the lead in alerting authorities and evacuating the area without the kind of organ-trampling panic that usually accompanies the word "bomb."
Here he is, not screaming like a 3-year-old, as we most certainly would have done.
The explosive detonated as the area was being cleared, and sadly did kill one person and injure a bunch of others, but Jewell was hailed a hero for ensuring that it didn't wind up one of those incidents that is solemnly alluded to afterward simply by the date on which it occurred.
That is, until he was named the lead suspect for having planted the bomb.
And here he is with a much justified "You have got to be fucking kidding me" look on his non-terrorist face.
Apparently, the FBI figured that the prospect of becoming a hero for saving thousands of people from a bomb threat is a pretty good motive for planting a bomb in the first place. On that logic, they announced that Jewell was under investigation, and the media (paying little mind to that "innocent until proven guilty" malarkey) took it from there.
News coverage of the FBI's investigation quickly turned into a kind of perverse reality TV show, broadcasting live as the FBI searched Jewell's apartment while keeping him under 24-hour surveillance. They even kept tabs on him as he did his grocery shopping -- you know, in case he walked out with six bags of fertilizer and some fuses. Jewell couldn't even escape late night television, as he found himself on the butt end of Jay Leno's jokes.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Of course, we use the term "jokes" very, very loosely.
Eventually, the feds were forced to admit that they didn't have anything on him. That didn't help Jewell, who had already lost his job and suffered a crucifixion in the media. There was no big moment of vindication for him, and he never got the hero status he deserved.
It was 10 years before someone finally stepped up to thank Jewell ... even after they caught the real guy.
And now for something totally different: 6 True Stories That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity and 5 Inspiring True Stories For Anyone Feeling Cynical Today.