OTTAWA LAKE, Mich. — A Michigan state trooper pulled over a 15-foot banana car but instead of ticketing the driver of the whimsical vehicle, he gave him $20.
State trooper Bill Strouse saw the slow-moving vehicle lumbering down the highway around 7:30 a.m. Oct. 27, MLive reported.
"I thought, 'Are you kidding? That's cool!" Strouse told WZZM.
The driver, Steve Braithwaite, drives around the country on a road trip he calls "The World Needs More Whimsy Grand Tour," The Washington Post reported.
"I did what we all do when we pass a cop on the side of the road, I looked in my mirror to see if he started moving or not," Braithwaite told MLive. "I knew I hadn't done anything wrong. I certainly wasn't speeding."
Strouse pulled over the banana car, which has a specialty tag reading "SPLIT," and conducted a safety check, going through the headlights, brake lights and turn signals. Strouse took Braithwaite's license and walked back to his patrol vehicle. When he returned, he handed Braithwaite back his license wrapped in a $20 bill, The Post reported.
"The big banana checked out just fine," Strouse told WZZM. "I noticed the sign on the back of his banana and it said he was raising money and driving across America. That seemed like a very fun and noble thing to do. So, I pulled out my wallet and thought I would contribute."
Braithwaite spent about 2.5 years and $25,000 modifying a 1993 Ford F-150 truck to create the banana car, MLive reported. He drives it across the country and makes a living giving people rides in the eclectic automobile.
He plans to write a children’s book about his adventures in the banana car. Braithwaite plans to start donating proceeds of his rides to benefit children with medical needs.
"I'll probably choose one day each week, like Saturday, and give all the money to help a child cover medical costs because they don't have insurance. It's just the saddest thing when you see that," he told MLive.
After the traffic stop, Braithwaite headed to Bowling Green, Ohio, to make some repairs to the carburetor of the banana car. He then continued his travels to Victoria, Texas, where he wrote about the incident on the Big Banana Car Facebook page.
“The Big Banana Car is once again on the move,” he wrote.
Cox Media Group