Re-Creating the 'Beach Blanket Experiment'

The couple clearly acknowledged Havilah. But would they come to her aid in her moment of need? Without mentioning a word about the iPod, Havilah left her belongings and headed to the boardwalk. Our thief, Eric, then walked by and grabbed the iPod. Just when we started to wonder if they were going to do anything, our couple spoke up.

Man: "Is that her radio?"
Woman: "Yeah! Hey!"
Man: "Yo!"
Woman: "Hey!"

The man then followed our thief for more than 200 yards down the beach, determined to retrieve the stolen property.

"This is not like my husband -- to confront somebody," admitted his wife. But with a small community formed (from the simple dialogue with Havilah), this man was willing to act in ways that were, maybe, not so typical.

Familiarity Breeds Contempt?

Of course, it is one thing to help out a sweet, innocent woman, but what if the beachgoer was instead annoying, obnoxious, even downright disgusting?

For our first big twist to the scenario, we had Havilah inch up to a young family catching some rays. She blasted music that would make Mozart turn in his grave, she screamed at her "brother" on her cell phone, and she proceeded to carry out her "personal hygiene" in view of everyone on the beach, shaving her legs and armpits.

The family seemed to react with a saintly patience, ignoring our obnoxious victim and letting her go about her business. But when Havilah finally left, the family let out a sigh of relief, joking that maybe they should move her stuff far far away. Surely, they wouldn't stop someone else from stealing her iPod.

But we were wrong!

When our thief stole the annoying woman's iPod, the family was not only upset but one member, Billy, set off in a full-out sprint, chasing him for hundreds of yards in the hot sand. Upon catching Eric, Billy cursed him out and ripped the iPod from his hands.

It turns out even a negative interaction can prompt a positive intervention.

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