It’s generally not a good idea to pick up a stranger on the road—but when one man took in an unexpected passenger, it turned into an unforgettable story.
For Matt Graveling, a senior reporter for BBC South Today, April 12 started out as a regular work day, and he was driving to a filming location at about 2:30 p.m. What happened next has him going viral on Twitter:
He picked up an unconscious bird in Oxfordshire, England.
He saw the bird—some kind of large bird of prey like an eagle—lying injured in the road, and decided to give it a ride and bring it to safety.
It was a noble gesture … but he quickly regretted the decision.
The bird woke up—and became a real concern.
After 15 minutes of driving with his avian passenger, the bird regained consciousness.
“After about 15 minutes of driving the bird started to open its eyes, and ruffle its feathers,” Graveling told the Press Association.
He quickly realized it wasn’t the best idea to be driving with this potentially dangerous bird at his side.
“Then all of a sudden it stands up on its legs on my passenger seat—this bird came up to my shoulders and looks over at me,” he said.
The bird’s sharp beak and talons “looked like they could do some damage,” he explained, plus its wingspan could block the view of the road. He decided it wasn’t wise to keep going.
He “escaped the car” and was stranded for three hours.
“3:02 – 6:29pm – Unable to get back in car,” he tweeted.
While the bird reigned over his car, Graveling called for backup:
He called the RSPCA to take in the “angry, injured bird.”
At about 6:30 p.m., the professionals at the animal organization came to take the bird off Graveling’s hands. He presumably never made it to that shoot, but at least he did the right thing helping out that bird.
“Just another day,” he joked.
The bird turned out to be a red kite, a rarely-seen bird of prey.
Wow, red kites are rare!!! Like hen harriers or peregrines…. you get them in Wales, and Dumfries and Galloway, in south East Scotland….!!! Absolutely beautiful hawks!!! Also, you get black kites in the Middle East!!! Wow!!! As exciting as seeing an otter, or a dormouse! Xx
— VickyPearson (@VickyPearson16) April 13, 2018
While he may have missed work, his employers praised his actions:
— BBC Oxford Travel (@BBCOxTravel) April 12, 2018
Graveling said that his car was, understandably, a “bit of a mess” afterwards, but at least he helped get a beautiful creature the help it needed.
2:30pm – Driving to filming location
2:45pm – Pick injured bird off the road and put in car.
3:00pm – Unconscious bird wakes up.
3:01pm – Escape from car
3:02 – 6:29pm – Unable to get back in car.
6:30pm – RSPCA turn up to take away the angry, injured bird.
Just another day pic.twitter.com/XRkN2daaZ7
— Matt Graveling (@mattgraveling) April 12, 2018