As the year comes to a close, more and more people are depending on online ordering to get gifts to and from their loved ones. Black Friday and Cyber Monday orders only add to the general madness.
But on Wednesday afternoon, one county in Alabama experienced an even crazier scenario. A “holiday nightmare comes true,” as WBMA-TV in Birmingham put it.
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office said a local resident discovered about 400 FedEx packages that had been tossed into a ravine on his property. Boxes of all sizes littered the forested area, some looking worse for wear.
By 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, authorities said, a FedEx manager was on the way, and an hour later more FedEx representatives had arrived and were working on getting more trucks so they could start gathering the abandoned deliveries.
By 10:30 a.m. Thursday, the packages had all been picked up, according to WBRC-TV.
“Missing a @FedEx package?” Bobby Poitevint, a reporter for WBMA, posted on Facebook.
“Blount County Sheriff’s Office says 300-400 packages were thrown into a ravine. Officers say FedEx is on the scene working to retrieve the packages.”
People who suspected their items might be among the discarded boxes flocked to the site, causing congestion in the area.
“Everybody that had a package on that truck that was thrown down that hill, you know, has been wronged and it’s just … it’s a really sad situation,” Natasha Abney, who alerted authorities to the scene after her neighbor discovered it, told WBMA.
She also said the scene she stumbled across is in a hard-to-reach location, about a football field length away from the road and about 50 to 60 feet down.
“I mean it was just a river of boxes,” she said. “Some busted open, some not.”
FedEx released a statement following the discovery.
“The security of our customers’ shipments is a top priority and we are committed to treating our customers’ packages with the utmost care,” it said. “We are taking steps to recover and transport the affected packages as quickly as possible.
“In addition to cooperating with law enforcement, we are conducting a review of this situation and will take the appropriate action. Customers with questions about their shipments can track their packages by visiting http://fedex.com.”
But the questions remain: Who? Why?
There aren’t many answers forthcoming, just lots of people wondering what in the world could have compelled someone to do this.
“It’s heartbreaking that someone would take advantage of people, when they’re supposed to be delivering kids toys to them for Christmas, and people don’t care and would just drop our hard-earned money,” Andrea Finchum, who is missing packages, told WBRC.
“[T]housands of dollars worth of things just off in a hole. I don’t see what kind of person can do that.”