We've all done the walk-and-text, an awkward dance that involves fiercely mashing your phone while looking up every so often to make sure you don't collide with the nearest lamppost. But some unfortunate citizens are so absorbed in their little screens, or so oblivious to their surroundings, that their multitasking attempts result in calamity and/or hilarity. Here, six walking-while-texting fails:
1. The man who nearly ran into a bear
Vaz Terdandenyan of La Crescenta, Calif., was walking down the street, texting away, when he came within a snout's distance of a black bear on the loose. "Luckily, the man managed to look up from his LOLs and JKs and emojicons just in time to OMG and run away," says Neetzan Zimmerman at Gawker. The bear was eventually captured by wildlife authorities and returned to his natural habitat. Check it out:
2. The woman who walked off a pier
Bonnie Miller was enjoying a nice stroll on a pier in Benton Harbor, Mich., while she sent a few texts, when she suddenly found herself in the river that links up with Lake Michigan. The pier was a good six feet above the water, so her husband dived in to help her. A helpful stranger also came to Miller's rescue. They were all eventually joined by the police, the fire department, and the U.S. Coast Guard, which finally hauled the trio up onto the pier.
3. The woman who fell onto the train tracks
A Washington, D.C., woman was riding an escalator down to the subway, texting, when she reached the bottom and kept walking, still texting, until she fell off the platform onto the tracks. Jonathan Dende, a 23-year-old visiting the capital from Pennsylvania, jumped down to help her, not realizing that they were both only feet away from the 750-volt electrified third rail. But they both managed to get back on the platform before a train arrived. Dende commiserated with the woman, telling her "he fell down some stairs while texting once," says Sherri Ly at MyFoxDC.com. But it turns out "he made the story up" just to make her feel better.
4. The woman who fell into the mall fountain
In easily the most famous walking-while-texting fiasco, Cathy Cruz Marrerro of Reading, Pa., was walking through the mall one day, texting, when she abruptly slipped headlong into a fountain. "I could see the pennies and nickels at the bottom of the fountain and then I was in it," she told the Reading Eagle. Dubbed the "Fountain Lady," Marrero said she was considering suing mall security for failing to help her. They can be heard laughing on the footage of the security video, which was quickly disseminated across the internet. Watch:
5. The woman who fell down the stairs
A news crew in Canada was filming a report that caught a woman walking in the background, texting, heedless of the short flight of steps in her path. Ouch!
6. The teenager who fell down a manhole
Alexa Longueira of Staten Island, N.Y., was walking down the street, texting, when "in classic Looney Toons style, she disappeared into an open manhole cover," says Warren Riddle at Switched. The 15-year-old fell into the hole just moments after workers had gone to fetch some cones to mark it off. She reportedly plunged five feet before "landing in a pile of muck." Luckily she emerged relatively unscathed.
Editor's note: This article originally misstated the state in which a texting woman fell into a fountain. It has since been corrected. We regret the error.