Monday, May 12, 2014

Trucker has Hitchcock-style encounter with flock of angry birds

Professional trucker Bennie Hines had a real-life encounter with some angry birds recently. Just how angry were the birds with Hines, a 67-year-old owner-operator and OOIDA life member from Houston? Well, they were mad enough to not only chase him around the parking lot, but one audacious fowl even launched a kamikaze-style assault on poor Bennie’s head, knocking him to the ground and busting a tooth loose.

“I was at the Chrome Shop in Houston getting some stuff done to my truck,” Hines said in a phone interview with Land Line on Monday. “When I got back out to my truck on the driver’s side, on the steps there were a whole lot of birds there, like they were waiting on me. They wouldn’t let me back in my truck.”

What happened next sounds like a scene out of a certain Alfred Hitchcock movie: Hines said the birds attacked him, and chased him around the parking lot, as he sprinted back for the safety of the Chrome Shop.

“I was swarmed with birds,” he said. “I was running back to the building, and this one bird, he just took a dive and hit me in the back of the head and knocked me down. It felt like somebody hit me in the back of the head with a fist.”

The force of the blow leveled Hines, who said he lost a tooth and had to get stitches for a cut on his face.

The video footage of the May 1 incident surfaced recently on a Houston TV station, after – get this – ANOTHER truck driver was attacked by a lone bird at the same location.

Hines said he remains mystified as to what provoked the birds into such an aggressive display.

“I’ve been coming here for years and never had any problem with them,” Hines said, adding that he was back at the Chrome Shop today. “They’re out there this morning standing around like nothing happened. I’m not bothering them and they’re not bothering me. We’re staying away from each other.”

Hines said he wasn’t sure what type of birds they were, but said they appeared to be more like starlings rather than traditional birds of prey. He said after the attack, he was able to get back on the road and deliver his load to Oklahoma. He said he appreciates the well-wishes and calls he’s received from friends to make sure he’s OK.

“It’s all funny now and we’re laughing about it,” he said. It was just weird when it happened. I started laughing then because it was just the weirdest thing that ever happened in my life.”