Would You Defer to an Authority Figure?

The man showed he was willing to comply with Coppola. But we wondered what would happen if Coppola was merely a voice over the phone?

Following Orders Via Walkie Talkie

In a shocking story that aired on "20/20" in 2005, a manager at a Kentucky McDonald's received a phone call from a man claiming to be a police officer. He told the manager that one of her subordinate workers had stolen a purse, and he ordered the manager to strip-search the female employee, among other degrading acts.

The manager complied fully without ever questioning the alleged police officer's credibility. It turned out that the whole thing was a hoax. The man was not a police officer.

So we gave Coppola a walkie-talkie and told him to give it to a flea market patron and deliver orders. Coppola approached a man eating his dinner and explained that he needed the man's help to detain the fugitive. He gave the man, Robert Clarke, a walkie-talkie and disappeared. In his absence, Coppola was able to convince Clarke to leave his dinner and follow Hovel around the parking lot for more than 15 minutes. Although Clarke was willing to keep an eye on Hovel, he refused to abduct the baby.

After approaching 22 shoppers, only five people flatly refused to comply with Coppola. Some were willing to go further than we ever expected.

When Coppola asked the other shoppers if they were comfortable dropping a sedative pill in Hovel's drink or even snatching the baby themselves, the story took a shocking turn.

Find out what happened: CLICK HERE

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