Ignored by public for years, stranded man is finally rescued from busy street median

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By Brad McLeod

SURREY — Late last night, a rescue helicopter airlifted a young man to safety from a street median near the intersection of Nordel and Scott Road. According to Search and Rescue, the missing man had been stuck on the highway divider for over five years.

Despite looking dishevelled, with a long beard and tattered clothing, Aaron Reinhart, a castaway for more than half a decade, was nothing but smiles when speaking  to the media this morning, only hours after being reunited with his family.

Reinhart described the events that led to his disappearance as the result of “a foolish mistake” and considers himself lucky to be alive.

“It started like any other day, I was sitting at a bench waiting for the bus to go to work” explained Reinhart, who was at the time a successful accountant, “it was running a little late, so I decided to quickly go pick up some cigarettes at the gas station across the street. I don’t know why but I didn’t want to walk all the way to the crosswalk so I put all my better judgement and morals aside and jaywalked.”

“I don’t know what I was thinking, risking my life just to save a couple of minutes. Next thing I know, cars started coming in from every direction (two) and I’m running for my life.” Reinhart continued, holding back tears. “Luckily, the median was there, otherwise I’d probably be dead.”

When traffic didn’t die down, Reinhart weighed his options, and instead of risking his life trying to find his own way back to civilization, he decided to stay marooned on the median and wait for rescue.

“Weeks went by and no one seemed to notice me,” Reinhart lamented. “I even managed to make a sign explaining my situation and how I needed money to pay for cell phone credits so I could be rescued, but no one ever seemed to see me, they always just rolled up their windows and pretended to tune their radios like I was invisible or something.”

Unable to shave and surviving off discarded McDonalds meals, Reinhart grew increasingly ratty looking as he slowly gave up hope of ever seeing his family or walking on a sidewalk ever again.

“It was hell,” he explained. “Every day just looking out at a world that was nothing but Mazda Miata after Mazda Miata, I almost went insane.”

Reinhart went on to describe the dark realities of life on the median, “I thought of killing myself more than once; just throwing myself into the oncoming traffic lane and ending it like so many of the squirrels I’d eaten. But K.L. kept me from the edge, he always looked out for me.”

K.L. is the name Reinhart gave to the face crudely scrawled on the Keep Left sign also on the median, his only friend for five years.

Reinhart says the 1,826 days he spent on the median were the loneliest of his life, that he owes his survival to the men and women who rescued him, and that he has vowed to never go on another dangerous jaywalking mission.

The Search and Rescue crew from last night, on the other hand, say that they’re no heroes, and that Reinhart really owes his life to the group of six teenagers who died in an avalanche while they were busy “rescuing” him.

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