Mental Floss

6 Strange News Stories From This Week

Miss Cellania
IFCAR via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain 
IFCAR via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain  / IFCAR via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain 


When a mail truck in Wake Forest, North Carolina, caught on fire Tuesday morning, the postal carrier leapt into action and started unloading packages from the back as the flames spread from the engine to the rest of the truck. A passerby ran to help get the packages out. The Wake Forest Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire.

"If it wasn't for her quick thinking to pull right over and remove the parcels, it could've been tough. Somebody did save Christmas. You give all the credit to that postal carrier," said Wake Forest Fire Department Chief Ed Barrett. Many of the dozens of packages, most of which were from Amazon, were saved. In a statement, Amazon said, "We appreciate the efforts of all those involved and are grateful that everyone is safe. We will be donating to the local fire department and thank everyone for their quick efforts on this."

The postal carrier, who was not identified, suffered no injuries.


A new program is rolling out in Iruma, Japan, to help out the city's many elderly residents. Senior citizens with dementia can get a small sticker with a QR code attached to a fingernail. The waterproof sticker lasts about two weeks. If a person with a sticker becomes lost, police can scan the code and be connected to a registry with information about the person, who will then be taken home. The service, provided free by a tech company, is another of many innovations to aid the elderly in Japan. The country is expecting 40 percent of its population to be senior citizens by 2060.


Two men in Danville, Kentucky, were arrested Saturday after one of them accidentally dialed 911. The emergency dispatch operator heard Robert Bourne and David Grigsby discussing places they might rob, including the local restaurant Brothers BBQ. Dispatch called Danville police chief Tony Gray, who just happened to be dining at Brothers BBQ at the time. Meanwhile, emergency services determined that the call was coming from the restaurant's parking lot. Gray found the two men sitting in their vehicle. They were charged with disorderly conduct and having an open container of alcohol in the car.


The government of Alberta has issued a warning to those visiting Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, west of Calgary, about moose that have been coming to parking lots to lick salt off of cars. People are advised to use their car horns to frighten the moose away, not to push the animal away from their vehicle—and they should never get between a moose and her calf.


Qantas airlines has announced a new flight beginning in 2018 that will break the record for the longest commercial non-stop flight in the world. Their new non-stop service between Perth and London will take 17.5 hours to complete the trip. That's a distance of 8989 miles. While that may sound horrific to frequent flyers, it beats taking multiple flights with layovers for those who need to go from England to Australia.

I guess it’s all better than the travel times of the 1930s. Back in 1938 a trip from London to Brisbane, Australia (the longest on offer at the time) took 11 days and had over two dozen scheduled stops.

Tickets will go on sale in April of 2017, but no price has yet been announced.


A man who walked into a bank in Malvern, Pennsylvania, and presented a robbery note to the teller left with several thousand dollars, but police were able to catch up with him. The man had taken a cab to and from the robbery—and he left a bag with his name on it, containing $2700, in the car. He also left behind the sweatshirt he had been wearing, as identified by the teller; his wallet, which contained his ID; and discharge papers from a rehab center, a piece of which had been torn off to write the note he gave to the teller. Police arrested 25-year-old Jamal Goodwin of Philadelphia, who was found with heroin, cocaine, and about $1000 on him.