By Melissa Locker
December 4, 2018

A retired veteran was just trying to do the right thing.

Alfred Norwood, Jr. thought he had spotted a man in dire need of assistance, dangling from his roof after a mishap while trying to hang Christmas lights. Norwood jumped into action, attempting to stage a one-man rescue mission. “I was trying to get him down any way I can. Except when I started talking to him, he never said nothing!” Norwood told ABC affiliate, KVUE. “Then I thought, ‘Oh my God I hope he’s not dead, lemme call 9-1-1.’”

The one thing he didn’t know was that the man he was trying to rescue was a dummy. Not a person guilty of skipping the appropriate safety precautions while attaching Christmas lights to a rooftop, but an actual dummy hung from the roof by the homeowners to re-create an iconic scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. In his frantic attempt to straighten the downed ladder and save the dangling dummy, it took Norwood a minute to realize his mistake. He then took off, undoubtedly slightly mortified.

When the Austin police officer showed up in response to the 9-1-1 call, they spoke to the nanny who cleared the whole thing up. Now, the family has added something else to their holiday display: a sign at the bottom of the ladder that read, “Clark G is part of our Christmas display please do not call 911.”

Norwood’s attempted good deed would have gone unnoticed save for the fact that the homeowners, the Heerlein family, caught the whole thing on their Nest home security system. They decided that his attempted noble deed needed to be recognized and tracked him down via the phone number he gave the 911 operators, which could be heard on the video recording. They thanked him for his efforts and gave him a gift card, according to Good Morning America.

“Hundreds of people drive by this house every day, seeing that mannequin hanging up there,” Chris Heerlein told GMA. “And I’m standing by the one guy who cared enough to save somebody’s life. Thank you.”

This isn’t the first time that would-be Good Samaritans have been fooled by someone’s ultra-realistic Christmas decorations. Last year, a Boulder, CO.-area man tried to prank his wife, but ended up fooling his neighborhood with his Clark Griswold-inspired decorations that were so life-like that some people walking by ended up calling 911 to get help for the “man” hanging off his gutters.

 

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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