Sussex — A man hoping to improve his odds of getting picked up for a ride to Moncton by disguising himself as the widely popular hitchhiking robot was arrested this morning, after a would-be willing driver discovered the “robot” was in fact human.
Adam Shore, who put on the façade, said his only motivation was to get to work. “I got a job at a call centre in Moncton. I really needed the work, but I had no feasible way of getting there,” he said. “I missed my first couple days because I tried to hitchhike just as myself and no one would pick me up.”
Shore said he became desperate knowing a third consecutive absence would result in his being fired, and he struggled to come up with a solution. “I really didn’t know what to do and was ready to give up,” he said. “But then I was watching the news and they were talking about that hitchhiking robot that got destroyed in Philadelphia and that they might make another one. And I remembered hearing it got across Canada in like 7 days, so I thought maybe I could just pretend to be the new one.”
Shore made his way to a nearby Dollarama to purchase the materials needed to resemble the much-beloved robot. The following morning he brought the costume to a wooded area alongside the Trans-Canada highway, dressed up and proceeded to pose along the road as the benevolent machine just needing a lift.
“It worked really well,” he said. “In like 10 minutes someone stopped to have a look at me; I did a robot voice and said I was HitchBOT 2 and that I needed a drive to Moncton. The guy didn’t even hesitate! He just picked me up, threw me in the front seat and took me the whole way.”
According to Shore, the scheme worked perfectly for over a week. “People were more than happy to give me a ride to and from work as HitchBOT 2,” he said. However, Shore was finally discovered when a woman attempted to put him in the back of her car and he broke character.
“From the outset I thought things were a little off,” said Kimberly Hesborn, the woman who exposed Shore as the impostor. “When I lifted him up to take him to my car, I thought ‘For a trash can with pool-noodle arms this thing sure weighs a lot.’ And then I tried to get him in the back of my car, I accidentally hit his head on the door frame and he let out a groan that didn’t at all sound like a robot — and robots to my understanding don’t even feel pain.”
Hesborn said she then attempted to remove the metal bucket over Shore’s head; it slid off easily, revealing the true identity of the supposed robot. “I told the guy to get the hell out of here and then I called the police.”
Sussex RCMP quickly caught up with Shore, but let him off with a stern warning. “Although there’s no law against representing yourself as a second model of a known robot, there are laws against hitchhiking and Mr. Shore was clearly in breach of that,” said Const. Derek Fitzpatrick.
Since news spread of Shore’s hitchhiking scam, motorists who gave him a ride are coming out expressing their shock and anger over being so deceived.
“To think that I dragged a 180-pound stranger into my car and thought that it was a harmless machine… I just feel violated,” said Craig Scott. “Over that 40-minute drive I shared a lot of personal things I would only have said to a non-judgmental, non-living thing — I mean, stuff I wouldn’t even say to my dog.”
As to Shore’s employment situation: “Well the call centre thing in Moncton is clearly over,” he said. “I’ll probably look into getting a job at a Tim Hortons around here. I mean, they pay minimum wage but it’s only like 50 cents an hour less than the call centre anyway.”