Whenever I have been doing any kind of work of any kind, I have been using headphones in just one ear. Or in public for that matter.
It is something that I have been doing since I first joined the military when someone said to me that you never truly know when an alarm is going to go off so you always have to be able to hear it.
Headphones are a wonderfully useful thing: They can give you a sense of escape as they surround you with music, which is great when you’re trying to perform a variety of tasks that require focus and isolation.
They’ve proven dangerous in many situations for the same reasons, though the danger is in user error. Many authorities urge runners not to use headphones in both ears because it seriously impairs their ability to keep aware of their surroundings.
That’s probably one of the more common dangers of headphone use, but on Monday a new dangerous scenario presented itself. As a pack of headphone-wearing students walked alongside a street in Bridgeport, Connecticut, they couldn’t hear a police officer screaming at them as a driverless car steadily headed right for them.
“Now we go through a lot of scenarios, but that’s not a scenario they teach us in the Academy,” Officer Carlos Carmo Jr. said, according to WABC-TV in New York. “That’s just one of those things where your instinct kicks in and you basically do what you gotta do to keep these kids safe.”
Looking over, he saw there was no driver in the car. According to the Bridgeport police video, apparently the car had been placed in park, facing downhill, when it slipped into neutral and began cruising along in the far right traffic lane near Boston Avenue.
When Carmo realized what was happening, he began chasing after the runaway car on foot and screaming at a group of students whom the car seemed to be heading straight for.
“The kids actually, they basically they all had headphones on, and I was screaming at them,” Carmo said. “They basically didn’t even didn’t even hear me, and I only think they knew what was going when it was over.”
Reaching the car, he held on to the right rear door frame, using his body strength to slow the drifting vehicle.
“My adrenaline basically kicked in at that point,” Carmo explained. “I used my strength while dragging my feet along the ground, pavement, before the SUV could collide with anyone or anything.”
“I was just thinking in my mind to say, ‘I got to find a way to stop this.’”
“On December 16th at approximately 1430hrs, Bridgeport School Resource Officer Carlos Carmo Jr. performed a heroic act by stopping an SUV that was rolling downhill on Boston Avenue with two individuals, one in the passenger seat and one on the back seat, but no driver,” the Bridgeport police Twitter account shared on Monday.