Tim Rose has a story. A weird story. A weird story he swears is true.
Once you've read it or listened to it, you may second guess him. Which is fine — you wouldn't be the first — and if Tim's post in the Tech Support subreddit continues to be crazy popular from time to time, Tim's going to continue to be accused of making it all up again.
It started on Super Bowl Sunday, 2015. The Patriots beat the Seahawks 28-24 with a last-second interception, but Tim says he doesn't even remember who was playing that night.
"I was hanging out with a buddy," says Tim. "We went out to a restaurant and we were watching it there, kind of left a little early and I was heading home. I had a new job that I had scheduled to start the next day."
But Tim got in a car accident on the way home. His car went down a grassy median. His airbags didn't go off and he hit his head. Someone called an ambulance. Tim says it was rainy that night and another car was involved, although he doesn't really remember the specific details of how he ended up crashing. He swears up and down that he was not driving drunk. He thinks someone may have hit him.
Tim felt OK, but his head hurt, so he decided to get in the ambulance to get checked out in the hospital — North Cypress Medical Center.
Tim was under observation for awhile, but he started to feel better. He told the hospital staff he had to go to work the next day, and that he didn't have insurance. He just wanted to go home.
But the hospital staff wanted to give him a CT scan, which he was wary about because, again, he didn't have insurance.
"I get frustrated about it because they're not letting me leave," Tim says. "They said I can't go anywhere. A cop shows up outside my room and I said, 'What are you doing here?' And he doesn't say anything to me and I'm starting to realize this is getting a little bit serious."
Tim took out his phone and started recording a video of him arguing with the staff at the nurses' station.
"I was like, 'I want to go,' you know, 'I'm ready to go. I'm refusing all treatment. I'm not under arrest. Get me out of here'," he says.
A nurse grabbed Tim's phone, and two cops threw him onto the bed.
"One of the police officers gets his knee up on the side of my face holding me down there. But I mean, I'm not really trying to push. I'm stunned at this point. So I, you know, I probably tensed up," says Tim. "But I mean, I’m resigned to the fact that something is happening right now. And I thought they were going to strap me down. But what they ended up doing is they held my arm down and forcibly took my blood."
As soon as that happened, everyone dispersed. He went on his phone, only to find that the video he took had been deleted.
He finally got into an Uber and headed home. Angry and exhausted, he posted on Reddit.
As you can see, there are about 20 edits. Tim got a lot of push back, which if you click the link above, you can see within the thread. But he also got a lot of actual help. Redditors told him how he might be able to get the video back.
Tim got an offer from a company in Oklahoma called Alias Forensics. They said, hey, send us the phone and we'll try to get the video back, for free.
Why did Alias Forensics offer to do this? For a "bug bounty."
Bug bounties are rewards put out by companies and websites for cracking their device or their software. Good hackers get recognition and money for breaking in, and the companies get information about vulnerabilities in their devices and systems that need patching.
"I could afford free," says Tim. "So I sent [the phone] up there. I put the tracking number on the thread too. I put a copy of the receipt [on Reddit] so that everybody could see that this was happening."
Not long after he sent his phone to the security firm, he got an email back.
Hello again Reddit Friend…
Long story short, you are boned. Our forensic devices were able to semi-dump this phone, but the video you are looking for was not in the dumps.
So here is the long story. The Verizon Note 4 is bootloader locked with no known exploit.
In effect, you are out of luck on recovering the video until an exploit is found for this phone (which it may or may not ever be). Your options are to keep the phone safe and unused somewhere until the phones security is broken, or to move on.
So Tim did move on, in a way.
"I was trying to go to a bunch of attorneys anyway and say, hey, look this is what happened to me that night. They must have video of this at this hospital. It was no fewer than than five or six [attorneys] that I talked to or emailed and they all said no. Every one of them. And it really bugged me," he says.
The legal case against the hospital was tricky. Tim didn’t have the video proof he so badly wanted. He was out of luck. But he was still mad. So he did the only thing he could do.
"After this incident I said, you know what, I'm going to law school and I'm going to defend the oppressed against these overreaching horrible people. That was my rallying cry. I was all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and full of hope and unicorns. And I started [law school] that August," he says.
He now knows, for example, that in Texas you have be legally arrested before police can force your blood to be drawn. So what he says happened to him is illegal. Even if he had been found to have been driving drunk, which he insists was not the case, his blood would have been inadmissible as evidence in court.
And in the meantime, the kind of phone Tim had has since been cracked. But ... he lost it. He also got divorced, moved and re-married and has two teenage stepsons, in addition to his own teenage son.
Tim followed up after our interview with more evidence. He sent us his insurance estimate documents and a certified copy of his driving record, which showed the incident that night — Feb. 1, 2015. There was also a letter from his former employer showing that he was supposed to start a new job the following day.
And one other update. In his email he wrote:
I accepted a position with a personal injury firm here in Houston yesterday. I'm now going to be practicing the kind of law that would have helped with my case when this whole thing started. I also attached a screenshot of that email leaving out some irrelevant personal details.
Tim Rose’s video may never be found. But his new future is secured.
Thanks to artist Helene Hildebrandt for this week's artwork. Find her on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/helenehildebrandt___. Her brother u/Staan96_5 posted her artwork on Reddit.