Fact Check

Voicemail Records Confrontration After Traffic Accident

Voicemail message describes a confrontation between a motorist and four elderly women?

Published Feb 2, 2005

Claim:   Voicemail message describes a confrontation between a male motorist and four women after a minor traffic accident.


Example:  [Collected on the Internet, 2005]

Don't mess with Bible-totin' old ladies..

Read this little explanation and then listen to the voicemail. You just have to laugh with the guy.

This is hilarious!!!

On a recent Spurs trip, we were asking one of our sponsors who works at Jack in the Box for some funny stories or experiences with the company. The funniest story he had was when an operations manager was late for a meeting and called his boss to tell him he was running late. As he was leaving the voice mail message, he witnessed an accident and went on to provide "play by play" of the incident.

After telling us the story, he promised to send us a copy of the voice mail and here it is. This is the actual voice mail message. It was passed along and forwarded so many times within Jack in the Box; it crashed their voice mail server.


Origins:   In one memorable episode of the 1970s television sitcom All in the Family, Archie Bunker is involved in a minor traffic accident and, eager to cash in on the incident, rushes out and engages a Jewish lawyer to sue the other party. However, after conferring with the defendant's attorney, Archie's lawyer advises him that he has no case, as the other side's witnesses are too strong. There's an old legal precept, he informs Archie: "You can't beat a station wagon full of nuns."

Perhaps Archie Bunker couldn't beat a station wagon full of nuns, but according to a circulating audio clip, an Impala full of Bible-toting middle-aged women could beat (literally!) the motorist who ran into them.

The description reproduced above sets up the following scenario: While an operations manager employed by a restaurant (variously claimed to be Jack in the Box, McDonald's, Burger King, or some other fast food chain) is commuting to the

job one morning, he calls his boss to leave a voicemail message announcing that due to the rainy conditions that morning he'll be late getting into the office. In the middle of the call he witnesses a minor traffic accident in which a lone male motorist runs a red light and clips an Impala occupied by four middle-aged women. Breaking off the explanation for his tardiness, the manager instead launches into a blow-by-blow description of the ensuing mayhem as the motorist gets out of his car and begins berating the four women (even though the accident was clearly his fault). Between bouts of hysterical laughter, the caller recounts the action as the four women assault, poke, and beat the hapless motorist with, variously, pepper spray, an umbrella, a large purse, and a Bible until he finally retreats back to the safety of his car. All of this, of course, is captured by his boss's voicemail account, creating an audio record of the event gleefully forwarded from mailbox to mailbox throughout the company.

Since this clip surfaced on the Internet in early 2005, debate has ensued about whether the account given above is an accurate explanation of the origins of this audio clip, and whether the traffic incident described actually took place. (Skeptics have questioned facets such as whether the narrator would not only have been able to tell at a distance that the book one of the assaulting women was carrying was a Bible, but to identify the specific version of Bible — and why the narrator would think to note that detail in his description.) A inquiry posed to the corporate offices of Jack in the Box (the restaurant chain most frequently mentioned in circulated versions of this recording) produced the following response:

Thank you for your inquiry. The message that has been in circulation is an actual voice mail message. The incident occurred 5-6 years ago in Texas. I'm not sure how the recording got outside the company or if the employee still works for Jack in the Box, but the recording periodically re-surfaces on the radio and the internet.

Even if this explanation is accurate (i.e., the clip originated as a message left on a Jack in the Box employee's voicemail), it doesn't preclude the possibility that the accident described never took place, and the recording was just a prank one employee pulled on a co-worker.

Since this clip surfaced on the Internet in early 2005, several radio programs have aired interviews with persons claiming to have some involvement with this audio clip. On 4 February 2005, the nationally syndicated Coast to Coast AM show put through a caller who maintained he was the person who had been beaten by the women as described in the purported voicemail message. In late February, several stations broadcast

interviews with a man named Michael Childs, who said that he was the one who left the voicemail message, that the clip was genuine, and that the accident described had taken place about six years earlier in Athens, Texas, while he was working as a construction manager for Jack in the Box. Although Mr. Childs' voice certainly sounded very much like the one in the recording, without additional evidence we still can't rule out the possibility that this clip was a prank rather than a live description of real events.

Last updated:   10 September 2013

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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