Sep 22, 2014


Recent reminiscing with a friend of mine reminded us both of this very random and creepy occurrence that took place about five years ago or so at a movie theater somewhat local to us both, and where he used to work. This is going to sound like 100% bullshit, and I know everyone who's about to tell some kind of creepy tale always preempts with that disclaimer, but you should know that this really did happen. It's too bizarre to have made up. 

In the midst of this particular movie theater being bought out by yet another, larger movie theater company (which seemed to happen every 2-3 years), small signs began appearing on certain seats in one particular theater auditorium. This sign read something to the effect of:
"Part of our renovation process includes the installation of automatic footrests, which will engage once the lights dim and your feature begins."
During this time, customers began to experience the automatic footrests for themselves.

And then the feedback began.

The first feedback was quite negative, and for good reason. (More on that later.) Simply put: the footrests were not as advertised. Management did not take her concerns very seriously, assuming she was complaining just to get some free tickets.

A couple weeks later, the theater had their second customer feedback: the customer simply remarked that they liked the new automated footrests, had used them for the duration of the film, and had nothing more to add.

By this point, theater employees were mystified. You see, there were no automatic footrests installed anywhere in that theater.

One day, my buddy, who was a manager at the time, was asked to see about a situation that occurred within one of the auditoriums, and to assist the security staff as needed. Upon getting there, outside the auditorium in the hallway, he saw a frazzled girl, her angry boyfriend, and a strange looking man sitting on a bench in handcuffs, looking ashamed and terrified.

Clearly, something bad had gone down between all of them.

That strange looking man, it turns out, was the automatic footrest. He would place the sign on the seat where the "footrest" would engage, slide beneath the seat on his back once the lights went low, grab the person's feet with his hands, and stare up at them from the floor while holding the person's feet up above him.

Turns out: the first "customer feedback" had not only been quite negative, but flat-out described the situation for what it was: there was someone in an auditorium sneaking under seats and holding people's feet. She'd described the grabber's face as "ghostly white." The fact that staff did not find the "sign" she'd reported to be hung on the seat reinforced management's stance that she was pulling a scam. They even did a round of myth-busting and tried sliding on their backs under the seat to see if anyone could even fit.

No one could.

Following the second feedback about automated footrests, the light bulb went off and employees went to the auditorium and saw that the sign was still hanging on the seat.

On the day of the third and final reported instance, the grabber had finally been caught. The boyfriend had seen the man take his place below his girlfriend's seat and ripped him out from under it, understandably ready to beat the ever-loving stuff out of him until others had broken up the fight. At that point, security and management had intervened.

This strange man – described as little and pale – had been doing this for months before he was finally caught. In at least one confirmed instance, he'd held a person's feet for the duration of an entire film, and that person never knew. Makes you wonder how many people he'd actually done it to, but who never bothered to provide feedback for these "automated footrests."

See you at the movies.

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