Have you ever had one of those moments where some embarrassing memory launches into your mind, unbidden and unwanted, and you spend several painful moments reliving your own shame and misery? I’m guessing that such moments may become common in Christopher Fitzgibbon’s future, and I’m guessing the moments he’ll painfully reflect on will all revolve around the time he tried to get a village to pay him because he lowered his car so much he could no longer drive in his own town. Update: See Fitzgibbon’s response below.
Yes, 23-year-old Fitzgibbon spent about $3,800 to lower his Volkswagen Passat so the car now only has four inches of ground clearance, and the result of doing so is that he can no longer take his usual route to work through the village of Galbally in Limerick, Ireland, because the village has installed six-inch high speed bumps on various roads in the town.
These speed bumps mean Fitzgibbon had to remap his route to work, telling the Daily Mail:
“That’s an extra 30 miles a day, 150 miles a week, 600 miles a month, and 7,000 miles a year - all because of speed bumps that are too high for my car.”
Fitzgibbon also claims to have incurred around $2,500 worth of damage to his Passat by driving over the traffic calming humps, and he wants the village to pay for it.
The village seems to be taking the stance where they would prefer Fitzgibbon to get bent.
Fitzgibbon described his interaction with the village’s road engineer like this:
“I complained about the first one for about six weeks and they basically responded to me with two fingers up and four more ramps in February. I went to the council office where the road engineer is based - but I got nothing back but physical and verbal abuse and intimidation.
The road engineer was so mad with me. He kept pushing me about, telling me I had no effing right to be here and who the eff was I to come in and complain.
I’ll never forget, he called me ‘frivolous’ and ‘vexatious’.”
Yes, you can never really forget when someone calls you vexatious. That kind of shit lingers.
The Limerick City and County Council disputes that the speed bumps are six inches high, stating that they’re about half that height, just under three inches. The City and County Council has engaged lawyers, and have stated that Fitzgibbon is
“... not to call their [City and County Council] offices as your activity is causing considerable disruption to the running of the business of the Council.”
Just think about what’s going on here; a guy lowers his car so much he can’t drive over fairly common and normal road features, and now it’s somehow everyone else’s fault. It gets even better when you hear how Fitzgibbon describes his predicament:
“I feel discriminated against because I’m driving a modified car - it’s lowered, so it’s four inches off the road - and I’m being denied my right to drive on these roads.”
He feels discriminated against. For willingly choosing to lower the hell out of his car. This poor victim was just trying to make his Passat “look fresh,” and the cruel, uncaring, discriminatory town deliberately chose to build traffic calming speed humps, likely knowing full well it would prevent that fresh Passat from driving over them, probably because they were all so jealous of just how fresh that sedan looked scraping along the road.
Update July 17: Fitzgibbon reached out to Jalopnik directly after this story was published to strongly dispute the Daily Mail’s characterization of events, as we aggregated earlier.
He said the suspension cost €300 instead of thousands, that it was 4.5 inches off the ground and not four, and that it was not scraping the ground except in County Limerick. He also said he feels he is a victim of targeted harassment by the council government.