Mistaken Identity | News of the Weird | Salt Lake City Weekly

Mistaken Identity 

A weekly roundup of international news oddities

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Mistaken Identity
Alexander Morris, 53, filed a lawsuit against Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Warren, Michigan, on June 10 over an incident that took place last year, NBC News reported. Morris, the lead singer of the Motown group the Four Tops, went to the hospital with "clear symptoms of cardiac distress" in April 2023. While there, Morris told the nurses and security staff that he was concerned about stalkers and fans—but they didn't believe that he was with the Four Tops and ordered a psychological examination, which delayed his treatment. Morris was physically restrained, he said, for at least 1 and 1/2 hours—"a terrifying experience to be in the middle of a medical emergency," Morris said. The suit, which seeks $75,000 in damages, alleges negligence, racial discrimination, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Morris' ordeal finally ended when he showed a nurse a video of him performing at the Grammys. He was offered a $25 gift card to a Meijer grocery store as an apology, which he refused. "I never imagined I would become a victim of 'being sick while Black,'" Morris said. The hospital had no comment on the suit.

What Could Go Wrong?
Calling Agent 99! Samsung is channeling the 1960s TV series Get Smart with its newest tech release: the Shortcut Sneaker, with which one can make phone calls. Gizmodo reported that the phone is operated with discrete foot movements, recognized by motion sensors in the soles. Sadly, you're not likely to get your dogs into them anytime soon: The company is making just six pairs, available only to Samsung members in the Netherlands who enter to win by July 9.

Weird in the Wild
Scientists studying African elephants at Kenya's Samburu National Reserve and Amboseli National Park have discovered that the pachyderms call to each other and respond to one another using individual names, the Associated Press reported on June 10. The names are expressed in low rumbles that can be heard over long distances—by elephants. Many of the noises are low enough not to be heard by humans. When scientists played recordings to individual elephants, they responded energetically to those that contained their names. "Elephants are incredibly social, always talking and touching each other," said research co-author George Wittemyer. "We just cracked open the door a bit to the elephant mind."

The Passing Parade
As part of the annual Italian Market Festival in Philadelphia, one contest involves competitors climbing a greased pole to claim bags of meat and cheese tied at the top, United Press International reported. This year, however, the dangling delectables were left hanging, and nearly a month later, they're still there. Festival organizers are trying to arrange for a crane to gather the leftovers, which visitors claim aren't stinky—yet. With the oncoming heat dome across the United States, that might change.

Just Couldn't Help Herself
Tara Bjork, a server at Charlotte, North Carolina's Restoration Hardware Rooftop Restaurant, knew she was overstepping the rules on May 27 when she posted a video to TikTok while at work. "I need you guys to see what just came in the door," she said to the camera before panning to a table where a man was sitting across from a blow-up doll. Canoe.com reported that Bjork observed him "feeding" grapes to the doll, but later it was revealed that the man had finished last in his fantasy football league and the restaurant visit was his punishment. Bjork was fired from the restaurant for making the post but said it "wasn't too much of a shock, thank goodness."

But Why?
State Rep. Jim Carroll of Bennington, Vermont, released two videos to local news outlets in June depicting his colleague, Rep. Mary Morrissey, pouring water into Carroll's tote bag as it hung on a hook in his office, NBC5-TV reported. The incidents took place in April. "I want to say how very, very sorry I am for my actions of pouring water in Jim Carroll's tote bag," Morrissey said. "Quite honestly, I don't know why I did it. I was not meaning to hurt him." Carroll decided to release the video, which he took, because he believed not doing so would draw even more attention to the events. Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski told Morrissey, who's been a member of the House since 1997, that she would not be eligible to serve on conference committees.

What's in a Name?
Here's a term you might not know: A "cryptic pregnancy" occurs when a woman is pregnant but doesn't realize it until labor begins. So it went with Tayvia Woodfork, 26, of Mississippi, who experienced stomach pains while dining at a Golden Corral restaurant in North Little Rock, Arkansas, on May 6. Fox News reported that Woodfork went to the restroom, where she delivered 6-pound Tamaar Kylon Corral Woodfork, a boy. Yes, that third name is a tribute to the restaurant. Golden Corral shared news of the birth on their Facebook page and even gifted the new mom a $200 gift card, among other items.

Terror in the Drive-thru
• On June 11 in Seattle, Emma Lee, 23, got into hot water with a drive-thru customer at Taste of Heaven Espresso, where she works, Canoe.com reported. The customer was steamed about the price of his drinks, to which Lee responded, "You don't get to name your own price." After receiving his drinks, the customer allegedly got out of his car and threw them through the drive-thru window at the barista, then spit on her. But Lee fought back: She leaned out of the window and took a hammer to his windshield, putting a hole in the glass. "The argument that he didn't know or was scammed doesn't hold up," she said. "The prices are listed." Police were called, and Lee filed charges of misdemeanor assault and banned him from the store.

• In Lakeland, Florida, on June 14, customers in a McDonald's drive-thru were unhappy with an incorrect order, ClickOrlando reported. They argued with employee Chassidy Gardner before starting to drive away—that's when Gardner allegedly threw a drink at the car. Two of the customers exited the car, opened the drive-thru window and threw drinks at Gardner, who grabbed a handgun and walked outside, firing at least one shot at the vehicle as it left the parking lot. She was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The Continuing Crisis
Laurence Van Wassenhove worked for France-Telecom starting in 1993. France-Telecom, which was later bought by Orange, knew of her physical limitations caused by medical conditions, so they tailored a secretarial job to fit her skills, Oddity Central reported. In 2002, she asked to move to another region of France, and her request was approved—but the new workplace was not adapted for her needs. However, instead of making the necessary changes, Orange continued to pay her full salary for 20 years, while she did ... nothing. A mediator was appointed in 2015 to resolve the situation, but nothing changed. "Being paid, at home, not working is not a privilege," she said. "It's very hard to bear." Van Wassenhove is suing Orange for "moral harassment and discrimination at work linked to her health condition." Her lawyers believe Orange was trying to coerce her into quitting.

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