For reasons that remain unclear, a 22-year-old named Jared Michael recently attempted to take a selfie in front of an oncoming train. Despite being a "safe distance" from the train, things didn't go exactly as Michael expected.
As you can see in the video, the train's engineer thought the close-to-a-speeding-train picture was bad idea (it is), so he yelled and then kicked Michael directly in the head.
"Wow that guy just kicked me in the head!" Michael says in the video. "I think I got that on film!"
Let this be a lesson for teens everywhere.
UPDATE 2: As it turns out, Michael (whose real last name is Frank) is 22, not a teenager.
UPDATE: For the train-selfie truthers out there, via the Washington Post:
Jared Michael, the viral video star I suspected of pranking us, appeared on the syndicated news show Right This Minute last night and promised that the video was "100-percent real." (Although, in skeptics' defense, Michael also said "It certainly looks fake. I totally understand why people think it is.")
Michael was, as many a kind, globe-trotting reader emailed me last night, near the tracks of Peru Rail, which runs from Cusco and a few smaller destinations to Macchu Picchu. That goes a long way toward explaining why he mysteriously wasn't hurt. A lot of tourists walk the route instead of taking the train, which means the tracks are often crowded with people. The route is also very windy. Accordingly, trains go pretty slow: Peru Rail says the leg from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu takes an hour and a half, and it's only about 26 miles. So the train that hit Michael moves at an average speed of 17 mph — way, way slower than the speeds typical of passenger trains in the U.S., and a little more than half the speed of your average flying soccer ball.