An elaborate Christmas decoration and pop culture tribute in Texas proved much too convincing for one man who went out of his way to try and save a Clark Griswold dummy from falling off a roof.
The Heerlein family in Austin decided the final touch needed for their outdoor decorations was to hang a dummy from their roof’s gutters and dress it like Clark Griswold from the 1989 Christmas classic, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” In the film, Clark attempts to outfit his roof with Christmas lights but loses his balance on his ladder and has to catch himself on his rain gutters. He hangs there for a moment before eventually falling into the bushes below.
Complete with white velcro sneakers, a flannel shirt, and work gloves, this dummy would certainly fool anyone standing far enough away into believing it was a real person. As it so happens, this is exactly what compelled Alfred Norwood Jr. to stop his car in the middle of the street in the early hours of the morning and get out to help the man he believed was in distress.
According to The Washington Post, Nest Cam footage showed Norwood running over to the home and calling out to the dummy before grabbing a nearby ladder that had been part of the display. As he repositioned it for the “man” who was tangled in lights, Norwood asked if he could reach the steps. When there was no response, he began to call for help.
“It looked like a guy in distress needing help, so I took a chance to try to help him,” the 65-year old veteran told The Post. “All I was trying to do is help the guy.”
Norwood attempted to wave down a few passersby but when no one stopped, he decided the next step would be to call 911. It wasn’t until the sun began to rise and illuminate the house that he realized he was attempting to save the life of a dummy.
“I thought I was going to save somebody that day and that was the only thing on my mind,” Norwood said. “My wife said it was a dummy saving a dummy.”
While Norwood was outside attempting the heroic rescue, homeowner Chris Heerlein was out of town. He told The Post his wife had been home but was much too busy trying to get their three young children ready for the day that she wasn’t aware of what was going on in her front yard. When the two found out what had happened, Heerlein admitted he felt terrible but then “started laughing out loud.”
Despite the humor of the situation, he praised Norwood’s fast-thinking and selfless actions to try and save someone he believed was in peril.
“It’s nice to see there’s good quality people out there,” he said, adding that they invited Norwood into their home and gave him a gift card to thank him for his actions.
The couple has since posted a sign that reads, “Clark G. is part of our Christmas display. Please don’t call 911.”