Doc and Marty stare in disbelief in Back to the Future.

The 14 Greatest ‘Florida Man’ Headlines of All Time

Because whenever Florida Man does something, the world must know.

As a Floridian, I can attest to the fact that Florida is a place full of wacky people. However, the real reason behind the absurd amount of “Florida Man” headlines is something called the Sunshine Law. The law makes many records public, and this includes mugshots, criminal information, and arrest records. Thanks to these being readily available, many journalists can get their hands on some silly, absurd scoops—hence the many, many stories of Florida Man’s antics.

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Here are 14 of the wildest, funniest, and best Florida Man headlines of all time.

14. “Florida Man threw live gator in Wendy’s drive-thru window”

This classic gem from February 2016 is all about a man who, while on a morning drive, simply picked up a juvenile alligator, drove to Wendy’s, and proceeded to chuck it through the drive-thru window. According to his court case, the man professed that he’d done it “simply because,” so his sentence was not very long. His mother even told the news that it was just a “stupid prank.” If anything, the most impressive part of all this was even having the courage to pick up a random alligator and hold it in a car. -NS

13. “Florida cop claims Burger King put dirt on his food”

Even cops aren’t immune from the Florida shenanigans. In 2018, a police officer complained that Burger King employees had put a “gritty” substance on his burger, but as serious investigations took place, it was revealed to just be seasoning. Though the cop seemed pretty insistent on what he believed the substance was, everyone can agree that gritty stuff in food isn’t exactly the tastiest. -NS

12. “Inmate insists syringes pulled from rectum aren’t his”

In one of the more bizarre Florida tales, even though the headline doesn’t actually say “Florida Man,” an inmate had 3 syringes pulled from his rectum. He insisted they were not his after repeated questioning. The inmate was just entering prison following an arrest for marijuana possession when the syringes were removed during a body screening. Though he remained adamant that the needles were not his, he was slapped with additional charges for trying to bring them into the prison. -NS

11. “Drunken Florida man on Segway charged with DUI”

Niles riding a Segway through Frasier's doorway in Frasier.
(NBC)

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a very common criminal charge, and many stories exist about people being arrested for it. But you’ve probably never heard of someone getting arrested for DUI while on a Segway. In this hilarious case, a Florida man was arrested for DUI while riding the two-wheeled scooter right in front of a police station after drinking two bottles of wine.-NS

10. “Florida man tries to evade arrest by cartwheeling away from cops”

Gymnastics probably isn’t the first thing you’d think someone would use to escape being grabbed, but it most certainly was for this person. Outside an Orlando shop, a nimble Florida man escaped being apprehended by the cops by … cartwheeling. After the man was chased down and eventually captured, he received a charge for battery of an officer. That certainly wouldn’t put a spring in anyone’s step. -NS

9. “Florida Man calls 911, says he needs a ride to Hooters”

If you need to get somewhere, you usually call an Uber or Lyft, right? Well, apparently there’s a “better” option. To score a ride to Hooters, this Florida man’s brilliant idea was to call 911 to request a ride to the restaurant to help his ill grandmother. When she turned out to be fine, he was arrested on charges of misusing 911. It’s unclear whether he was under the influence of alcohol or not, but regardless, it seems that some people still don’t know how to use 911 after all this time. -NS

8. “Florida couple ‘trapped’ in unlocked closet for two days”

Panic can easily obscure common sense. In this example, two Floridians were seemingly “trapped” in a janitor’s closet for two days—but walked right out after they finally figured out that the door was unlocked. The closet was located at Daytona State University, meaning they probably weren’t studying up on their classes. The two were hiding from the police, and were in lots of pain while hiding—thankfully, they were only charged with trespassing. -NS

7. “Florida man posing as an officer pulls over an off-duty sheriff’s deputy”

Chris Pratt's Andy Dwyer pretends to be made up FBI agent Burt Macklin on Parks and Recreation.
(NBC)

Police impersonators are quite common across the U.S., but in this case, one managed to back himself into a corner. A Florida man arrested with impersonating an officer had been driving around and saw a speeding car, trying to pull it over—but when he finally did, it turned out to be an actual police car, promptly leading to his arrest. -NS

6. “Florida man attempting to time travel crashes into strip mall”

Ever wish you could time travel like they do in Back to the Future? Well, you probably won’t want to try it after this. A Florida man was arrested after driving his car into a mall in an attempt to “time travel” in the way that it’s done in the movie: driving 88 miles per hour in a car. Obviously, his plan failed—and time travel still isn’t exactly possible, even at 88 miles per hour. -NS

5. “Walmart Evacuated After Florida Man Found Crawling Through Ceiling”

A Pasco County Walmart was evacuated after Florida Man was found crawling about in the ceiling. They don’t know what his motives were, what exactly he was doing up there, or even how he got into the chain stores crawl space to begin with. I’m not sure there’s a more perfect Florida man specimen out there than this. It reads like madlibs. Walmart is involved. Absolutely none of the questions raised by the title are answered. A+ Loki-ing (yes Marvel confirmed all Florida Man stories are actually act of Loki now, I don’t make the rules). -SB

4. “Puppy shoots Florida man, deputies say”

A headline that read like the product of monkeys playing with typewriters that raises some pretty serious questions; namely, how does a dog use a gun? Apparently some complete asshole had a litter of puppies and, claiming he couldn’t find anyone to take them off his hands, decided to shoot them instead of, you know, taking them to a shelter. However, he was also practicing such lax gun safety while committing puppy murder that one of the little guys managed to put his paw on the trigger and shoot the Florida Asshole in the wrist instead. -SB

3. “Florida man arrested for trying to get alligator drunk”

Another absolutely perfect Florida Man story, this incident actually involves two Florida Men and one Florida Woman as well as a (Florida) ‘gator. One Florida Man caught himself an alligator out in the wild – with his bare hands mind – and decided to bring it home with him where another Florida Man decided to feed it beer and a Florida Woman watched. Florida ‘gator bit his human bartender but said Florida Man, who maintains that while he had had a few beers that day he was in fact sober while he did this, didn’t seem to mind too much about it. Both Florida Men faced charges but it seems watching a man get a gator drunk, and witnessing a kidnapped gator hanging out with his captor, are not in fact crimes themselves so Florida Woman is fine. -SB

2. “Florida Man In Easter Bunny Brawl Is A Fugitive & Talks About His Furry Fist Fight”

You love to see it. Cartoon mascots have a lot of rage built up already, and it seems like the guy behind/inside the Easter Bunny was just waiting for an opportunity to release some of it. So when he saw another man attacking a woman he dove right in to protect her and try and break up the altercation. The police apparently thought it was some kind of bit or gimmick at first, but the man inside the suit maintains it was a random encounter. And he got his bunny suit from Walmart. -SB

1. “Florida Man Driving Car Full of Stolen Mail Crashes into Trailer Full of Alpacas”

This one sounds like something out of Looney Tunes. A Florida man crossed state lines with a car full of stolen mail (oop, now it’s a federal crime) and only got caught because he crashed into a trailer full of Alpacas and then tried to flee the scene of the accident. Unfortunately one Alpaca was seriously hurt, which turns a funny story heart breaking, but the headline itself is still an absolute cracker. -SB

(featured image: Universal Pictures)


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Author
Siobhan Ball
Siobhan Ball (she/her) is a contributing writer covering news, queer stuff, politics and Star Wars. A former historian and archivist, she made her first forays into journalism by writing a number of queer history articles c. 2016 and things spiralled from there. When she's not working she's still writing, with several novels and a book on Irish myth on the go, as well as developing her skills as a jeweller.