Life debts (owing one’s life to someone else) have been ingrained in our minds by pop culture behemoths from Star Wars to Harry Potter. Or at least we expect gratitude or some sort of glory or respect for it, especially if we risk our lives or livelihoods for another. But some people are capable of such, such acts of ingratitude.
10. Errol Morris
In 1985, Errol Morris interviewed convicted cop killer Randall Adams in the Dallas County Prison for a documentary about the local district attorney who had the nickname “Dr. Death.” Adams’s story that he had been railroaded seemed solid enough that Morris looked into the nine-year-old story, and found Adams had been railroaded by the the entire state government because he was of an age where he could actually be executed for the cop killing. David Harris, who fingered him, had prior violent crimes, would later be convicted of murder and had confessed to the crime. But he was not of executable age and thus it wouldn’t provide much of anyone satisfaction if he only had to do jail time. Thus Morris spent two years of his life and about one million dollars to make the highly acclaimed movie The Thin Blue Line that was used as evidence in an appeal case for Adams, whom was fully exonerated.
Upon gaining his freedom, Adams promptly sued Errol Morris. According to Adams, he sued Morris for the rights to his own story so he could write the book Adams V. Texas. According to Morris, Adams was being paranoid, acknowledging the fact he had just spent twelve years at death’s door because the state said so was reason enough for anybody to be a bit antsy. Still, Morris seemed to resent the situation a bit too, saying “just because Randall Adams is a victim doesn’t mean he’s not an asshole.”
9. Fred Cutter
Driving when he was ineligible, at fifty miles per hour, Nick Otter hit the rear end of a fire truck that was being used by firefighters attending to another car accident on June 19, 2009 in Frenchtown, Michigan. He was saved by Fred Cutter, one of the firefighters who had been in the vehicle he hit. After recovering, Otter sued Cutter for lost wages (all he could sue Cutter for under the circumstances) while he recovered and for his claimed disabilities. His ex-girlfriend claimed that even his claims of disability were bogus, and that he went out snowmobiling while he was supposed to be injured.
8. Cleitus the Black
In the first battle of Alexander the Great’s invasion of Persia (Granicus) Alexander became battle crazed and separated from his main army unit with only his guard. One of the Persians managed to bash him on the head and bust his helmet. Before a second blow could be struck, Cleitus killed the Persian in question and saved Alexander. Seven years later, in a drunken brawl, Alexander killed Cleitus in a dispute alleged to be related to how Alexander was integrating Persian culture into Greek instead of just forcing Greek culture on Persia. Alexander did not get the punishment was coming to him for that until centuries later with the Oliver Stone film Alexander.
7. Kenneth Flynn
Irishman Kenneth Flynn heroically rescued driver Annette Donege on June 13, 2002. He pulled her out of her wrecked car just before it burst into flame. As Flynn called for an ambulance and the police, she responded by slapping and shoving him for getting the fuzz involved since she was drunk. When a cop arrived on the scene, she bit him as he attempted to cuff her. She was ultimately fined L150, and the record doesn‘t show whether or not she gave a roundhouse kick to the presiding judge.
6. Gerard Devlin
Later a father of six, Gerard Devlin rescued Francisco Notarantino from a burning building in the Belfast area in Ireland in 2001. Notarantino was 14 years old at the time. Seven years later Notarantino stabbed Devlin to death over some sort of family feud. The story was so awful that even Notarantino’s family members were forced to defend themselves in court.
5. Richard Batista
In 2001, Dr.Richard Batista donated his kidney to his wife Dawnell, an act which threatened his life and was her ONLY shot at life. What should have resulted in a deep, unbreakable bond instead resulted in her cheating on him within two years with her physical therapist from a karate injury after the transplant. When divorce proceedings were begun in July 2005, she reportedly made it difficult for him to have access to their children. For compensation, Richard wanted $1.5 million. The results were not released to the public, possibly to avoid encouraging other husbands to “donate” kidneys for their relationships. Maybe just choose your wife more carefully.
4. Dr. Dmitiriy Nikitin
In 2010, Dr.Dmitiriy Nikitin performed a life-saving liver transplant on patient Nelson Fletcha. On June 1, 2011, Fletcha confronted the hero doctor next to his car in a parking lot at night. According to security camera footage, the two seemed to chat amiably for a little while and then, for reasons that were not released, Fletcha took out a gun and then shot his former surgeon to death. He then went into another part of the parking garage and shot himself. Even though Fletcha’s surgery had gone off without a hitch, the man (who had no criminal record whatsoever) remained withdrawn and angry. Why he committed this horrible crime, we may never know.
3. Aaliyah Braybrook
While babysitting in 2010, Aaliyah Braybrook noticed that one of the kids under her charge had started a fire by playing with a lighter in the bathroom that had spread out of control. She saved two children and the family pet. Then she was sued for $350,000. Sure it was the parents who sued her instead of the pets or the children (and we all know what litigious little jerks kids can be) but she expressed anger at being treated this way after her lifesaving actions. The lawsuit was dropped after a review of the facts.
2. Mai Van On
A Vietnamese peasant who swam into the middle of lake to save John McCain after he had ejected from his shot down bomber in 1967. Also when ashore allegedly helped defend McCain from vengeful neighbors who wanted to beat and spit on him for bombing their community (his neighbors testified to the truth of this decades later.) In 1995, he reunited briefly with McCain, but otherwise had no contact with him and no mention in McCain’s autobiography. He took this as a snub from McCain, supposedly being bitter about it until he died. This was used to smear McCain to some degree during his 2008 campaign, but frankly, when you’ve just been pulled out a shot down craft and barely saved from drowning and it’s followed by years of systematic torture, do you think you’d be able to remember the face of your savior?
1. James Campbell & Officer Loran Dale Turner
A good Samaritan and highway officer who rescued three people from a car were promptly sued by the persons they rescued from a burning car wreck under circumstances where they certainly would have died. The grounds for the lawsuit primarily centered on the pair of rescuers not dropping an emergency flare during the rescue, resulting in one of the persons being rescued being hit by a car.
By Dustin Koski