Flip, Flop

Red and blue cop car lights

It's all fun and games until somebody loses a shoe.

Alex and his older brother Justin had always been close. They were roommates. They had the same car. And after one crazy drive home, they almost had matching injuries.

Of course, considering how much they both love cars, it’s no surprise that this late-night scare for LendingTree Autos’ senior developer, Alex, and his auto-enthusiast brother would occur behind the wheel. 

After a night out on the town, it was time for DD Alex to pry the last drink from Justin’s hand and take him home. Although some may have had trouble driving Justin’s stick shift MazdaSpeed 3, it would be no challenge for Alex, who already owned the exact same sporty hatchback in red. Only a few minutes after leaving the bar, Justin voiced a request for Jr. Bacon cheeseburger. Alex obliged.

They left the drive thru, grease-stained paper bag in hand, and embarked on the last leg of their journey home. Alex, who was either extremely comfortable in Justin’s copycat car or just very hungry, overestimated his speed and approached the sharp curve of a two lane road at 50 miles per hour. The car could handle the heat, but the sight of two white lights coming around the bend forced Alex to jerk the wheel.

Fortunately, the sound of scraping metal and shattering glass never came. But in the seconds that followed their near-collision, the Mazda flipped over its nose, barrel-rolled across the road and landed right side up, facing 180 degrees from where they started. When the dust settled, Alex was missing a shoe and the contents of the Wendy’s bag were scattered throughout the vehicle.

“My first thought was ‘Well, I guess we’re not eating,’” Alex said. The two stepped out of the car — Alex wearing a single sandal — only to realize that the horn was sounding at full blast. “That thing was loud,” Alex laughed. 

“It was one of Mazda’s safety features,” Alex said. “When the car is wrecked, the horn is supposed to alert people and make the car easier to find.” But having landed just a few feet from the pavement, they would have no problem getting noticed. “The hood was smashed up, the engine was completely exposed,” Alex recalled.

“I was actually more worried about the missing sandal than the car,” he laughed. “Isn’t it illegal to drive barefoot?”

Ears ringing, head spinning and foot fully exposed, Alex realized that he needed to call for help.

While they were waiting for backup, Justin (who was still a bit disoriented and very much annoyed by the blaring horn) decided to take matters into his own hands. He reached under the car’s would-have-been hood and grabbed a cord. His glassy eyes brimmed with newfound focus as he ripped out the wire and brought an eerie, albeit welcomed, silence over the wreckage.

By the time the police and a full medic team arrived on the scene, it was well past midnight. And it wasn’t until 3am when Alex and his brother returned home — with no burgers and one less MazdaSpeed3 in the garage.

Although they lost the car, Alex and Justin made it out with no serious injuries and no reckless driving charges. Sure, Justin had a pretty bad cut from pulling out the horn cord and Alex had a burn from the seatbelt, but they weren’t complaining. 

In lieu of a third MazdaSpeed3, Justin decided to break his sports car streak (previous fleet members including the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Ford Mustang and Harley Davidson Night Rod motorcycle) and instead purchased the more practical Hyundai Accent.

Alex hasn’t eaten a Junior Bacon cheeseburger since.

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