Springfield, MO – When the City of Springfield first installed digital signs along major streets within the city they announced that they would display messages helpful to the general public. City Manager Greg Burris said at the time, “The signs allow us to communicate safe driving tips as well as traffic information that may help people home on their commutes.”
The signs, however, which have messages such as, “Please don’t text and drive,” and “Always obey traffic signals,” appear to be increasingly directed toward one man. “I first noticed it a couple of weeks ago,” recalls Jesse Ammerman, who works as a lawyer. I was driving home from work when I looked up near Sunshine and National. The sign that usually has a reminder to wear your seatbelt said, ‘You forgot something at the office.’ And it was true, I had taken my wallet out of my pants and it was still on my desk.” Ammerman didn’t think anything of it because it seemed like it could have been a helpful reminder for a lot of people.
Soon, Ammerman began getting suspicious, though. “The next day I was surprised to see one that said, ‘Kayla needs to be picked up from dance class.’ Once again, it was true, Kayla, my daughter was at dance class and did need to be picked up, so, yeah, it was odd, but it was helpful.”
“It wasn’t until I saw one on S. National that said, ‘Jesse, your ass rash isn’t going to clear up on its own,’” says Ammerman. “That’s when I realized that they were somehow talking to me, I’m Jesse and I have an ass rash that I’m ignoring.” According to Ammerman he soon saw signs saying, “Jesse, your ACT score was a below average 22,” and “Jesse Ammerman Social Security number 493-87-7834,” and “Jesse Ammerman, I know that you had a sleepover birthday party in fifth grade. I knew you didn’t have to go to your grandma’s out of town. Rick told me. I had a sleeping bag, and I liked parties.”
“At first I thought it was some kind of digital guardian angel,” says Ammerman. “Now it’s just creepy. I know that it’s someone who knows me well, or at least watches me, but who would be able to change the signs?”
“No comment,” answered City Manager Greg Burris while a single tear fell down his face as he spun slowly around in his chair petting a cat.
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