2005-09-09 / On Second Thought

America’s bravest doing their thing

It’s Tuesday morning, and the sun is just beginning to come up. A guy standing on a corner waiting for a bus sees something strange, so he calls 911 on his cell phone.

Police send a patrol car. As soon as the cops arrive they call for the fire department. No, there’s no fire, but the services of firemen will probably be required.

What these folks see is a woman, apparently sound asleep, out on the end of a crane. How do they know it’s a woman? Well, for one thing, she’s wearing a long, flowing nightgown. Still, rescue workers can’t be absolutely certain it’s a woman because she — this person — is 210 feet above their heads.

The fire department sends a ladder truck and some fire–fighters who specialize in high–rise rescues. After nearly an hour they are able to reach the woman. Yes, it is a woman, a 19–year–old woman, fast asleep on a four–inch–wide steel boom high atop the crane.

Police signal to the crowd to be absolutely silent while firemen attempt the rescue. The volume on the firemen’s walkie talkies is turned down so the sound will not awaken the young woman who is still fast asleep. Rescuers fear she might awaken and roll over to her certain death.

Everything turns out well. The young woman is rescued by two of America’s bravest, and all return to the safety of the ground. The woman, maybe we should call her a girl, is required to go to the hospital for a psychological examination to be certain she isn’t suicidal.

As it turns out, she is not a nut case, but a sleep walker. That’s right. During the pre–dawn hours she left her downtown apartment, walked to the construction site, climbed the crane, then made her way out to near the end of the boom, lay down — all while sound asleep!

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