I don’t usually watch the news for a laugh, but the news this morning was funny. One station ended their report with the video of “Snackman.”
Snackman is the name that’s been given to the man who stepped into the middle of a fight on a New York subway. He was casually munching away on Cheddar Cheese Pringles. A woman was screaming at a man, he was yelling back at her, she was kicking out at him, he’s kicking back, and everyone around them is looking scared and uncomfortable. In strolls Snackman eating his chips. He doesn’t look at either of them – just nonchalantly keeps shoving potato chips into his mouth, and munching away. Snackman’s presence had a disarming effect on the fight. You can just see the anger totally de-escalate. Munch, crunch, crunch.
Come on! This was New York City. Either person could have pulled out a knife or gun. But Snackman casually stands between them as though they are two four year olds in a slapping contest, and the fight goes away.
The second program that made me laugh should have made me cry. Dateline did a study of young children who had been taught by their parents to stay away from strangers. The point of the study was to see if children could be enticed into a vehicle by something really exciting even though they have clearly been taught to stay away from strangers.
A young man drives up in an ice cream truck. He tells the kids they can get in the truck and look around and he’ll give them free ice cream. The children covered in the story were twins, a boy and a girl about 7 years old. As their father watches the tapes in horror, the children climb into the truck, look around, and take the free ice cream the man offers them. They were perfectly safe in the story because the man was an actor. But had it been a real abductor, at any point the doors could have been closed.
The little girl is clearly more wary of the situation than the boy, but she still gets into the truck. The point of the story was that even though children are clearly taught to stay away from strangers and not get in strange vehicles, it doesn’t take a whole lot of sparkle to get them to ignore what they have been taught.
The part that made me laugh was after the stranger drove away. The little girl is still very uncomfortable with what she and her brother did.
“We shouldn’t have gotten in,” she tells her brother. “You know – stranger danger.”
Her brother stops licking his cone, looks back at her, holds his snack up, and says, “Ice Cream!”
When you’re 7 years old, ice cream trumps danger every time.