What a hitchhiker with a hatchet can tell us

By Mick Sweetman
Managing Editor

Kai is more than the latest internet sensation, he is a new folk-hero. Photo: Facebook

Kai is more than the latest internet sensation, he is a new folk-hero. Photo: Facebook

When you read the phrase “hatchet-wielding hitchhiker” what image pops into your head? Are you thinking about a horror-story told as a cautionary tale about the dangers of picking people up who are thumbing a ride?

Or are you thinking of Kai (who when asked if he had a last name replied “No bro, I don’t have anything”) who became America’s newest folk-hero when he stopped at least two attempted murders last Friday.

The short story is that Kai was picked up hitchhiking in Fresno, California and shortly afterwards the driver decided he was “Jesus Christ” and deliberately drove into Rayshawn Neely, a black power worker, pinning him between the car and a utility truck

Talking to KMPH News Kai described what happened next, “I hop out, I look over, the guy’s pinned there. I mean like, freight-train riders know this, if you get pinned between something do not fucking move that shit or you will bleed out.”

After Kai took the keys from him the driver started attacking a woman who came to the accident scene to help. “A guy that big can snap a women’s neck like a pencil-stick” said Kai, “So I fucking ran up behind him with a hatchet: Smash! Smash! Smmm-ash!”

I could tell you more about Kai’s interview, but really it is something you have to see for yourself.

Uncensored interview with Kai on KMPH News
Warning: strong language and descriptions of violence

When the news report and the unedited interview were posted on the Internet it quickly became the hottest video on the web. But what’s behind people’s love for Kai? Is it more than the fact that he drops F-bombs every other word and talks in an accent that’s a mix between his roots in small-town West Virginia and California’s surfer culture?

Naturally I went to Facebook where Kai now has multiple fan pages to ask that question. Here’s what people said:

Anna Skeavington wrote, “I like Kai so much because he’s just an ordinary guy who became a hero by putting his own life at risk to save strangers lives. It takes a special person to do that.”

Mary Kathryn Burnett said, “I love his positive spirit – He’s not homeless he’s homefree. he expresses himself with freedom and exuberance.”

Alicia Larrabee said, “When you’re human and not influenced by society your spirit shines so bright. He is what today’s youth needs. Namaste Kai one foot in front of the other!”

For me, the reason Kai is a hero is that he did what we all would like to think we would do if placed in a situation where we had to risk our life to save someone else’s. In those quick seconds his actions saved at least two lives and possibly more. And the person who did it wasn’t a police officer, politician, or famous athlete but someone who some people would otherwise dismiss as a “bum” or “drifter” because he lives on the streets.

Armed only with a small hatchet, and a strong sense of right and wrong, Kai took on someone who was twice his size. Kai had only one regret about what he did.

“If I could go back in time I’d go back over to where I was at the recycling centre (where Kai was picked up) and he said he had raped that chick over in the Virgin Islands. Cuz it doesn’t matter where you at, if you can spend a bunch of money and then do whatever the fuck you want—that ain’t right. If I could go back in time I would have dialed him up right there.”

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What a hitchhiker with a hatchet can tell us