Pitt student causes disturbance on Forbes Ave.
A 22-year-old University of Pittsburgh student, identified as Grant Birdsong, who hails from the nearby Indiana Township, made waves on the internet last week when he attempted to leap from the rooftop of one building to another, but instead fell and got wedged between the two, all allegedly to impress a woman he just met. The two had gone up a fire escape to the rooftops of the Qdoba and Bruegger’s Bagels restaurants in Oakland when the incident occurred. The area, on Forbes Avenue near Atwood Street, is relatively central to the University of Pittsburgh, but is also often visited by Carnegie Mellon students looking for nearby off-campus food options.
At approximately 2 a.m. Tuesday morning, rescue workers arrived on the scene to try to retrieve the student from the 17-inch gap between the buildings. Police, firemen and paramedics all contributed to the effort for about four hours before Birdsong was finally freed at around 6 a.m. At one point, a paramedic rappelled down the gap, descending around three stories to help. Eventually, a jack hammer was used to break through the wall of Qdoba to successfully extract Birdsong.
The entire episode was live-tweeted by the Pittsburgh Public Safety Department, and was mentioned on several national news outlets. As Birdsong was wheeled away from the scene on a gurney, conscious but bleeding and sporting a broken ankle, he reportedly waved at TV news cameras.
A brief video of Birdsong after he was rescued shows him calmly laying on his back on a stretcher as he rolls towards an ambulance. He raises his arms in the air to give two thumbs up as he disappears into the vehicle.
On the internet, many who reported the story found humor in Birdsong’s ordeal. Time Magazine described it as “a harrowing tale of modern love, male ego, and parkour” and commended the Pittsburgh Public Safety Department’s dedication to live reporting the incident on Twitter.
Vice Magazine had a list of questions for Birdsong, starting with “Are you OK?”, followed by questions such as, “What was the conversation like on top of the roof? Did you immediately start bragging about your long-jumping ability, or did she start talking about her ex who was a really good jumper, or what exactly was the chain of events here?”, and finally ending with “Are you OK? I hope you are OK” again.
The roof-jumping incident even earned a mention in Jimmy Fallon’s monologue on The Tonight Show, as Fallon admitted he laughed when he heard the story, and joked that “Afterwards, the woman actually agreed to go out on a date…with the fireman who rescued that idiot.”
On social media, Birdsong was dubbed “Pitt Spiderman” and earned his very own hashtag.
Following the incident, the owner of the Qdoba, Chad Brooks, commented that his restaurant was likely to be closed for two weeks due to the new massive hole in its wall. However, Brooks stated that, “We were all young and dumb at some point, so no ill will toward him. I’m sure he’s embarrassed. I’m sure he’s hurting too.”
Bruegger’s Bagels was met with more fortune in the aftermath, experiencing a delay of only an hour before opening again at 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
Police considered filing charges, but according to public safety spokeswoman Emily Schaffer, the cost of the damage done was expected to be covered by the business’ insurance.
In the end, if it’s any consolation to Birdsong, the girl did end up staying through the whole ordeal to make sure he was okay. It is unknown, however, whether they kept in touch after that.