From WALL-E to Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, anyone who's seen a movie about a friendly robot knows that humankind isn't always quick to welcome these metallic newcomers. Luckily, the magic of Hollywood ensures a happy ending, and eventually the adorable little bots find the homes, friendships, and acceptance they were seeking all along.
Sadly, in the real world, friendly robots don't end up riding off into the sunset hand-in-mechanical hand with their fleshy counterparts—they end up broken and discarded like a dime store toaster. Here's what happens when a unassuming machine relies on the kindness of human strangers.
Meet hitchBOT, the hitchhiking robot
HitchBOT is an adventurous robot from Canada programmed to hitchhike across the world. He had previously made successful journeys through Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands thanks to the goodness of accepting drivers. Along the way, he attended weddings, visited castles, and brought smiles to tons of impressed people along the way.
Naturally, the researchers behind hitchBOT were thrilled to bring him back to North America and start him on another leg of the journey, but things quickly malfunctioned once he got to USA.
This is what happened to hitchBOT after just two weeks in the United States
He started in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and everything was just peachy until hitchBOT got to Philadelphia. While visiting the supposed City of Brotherly Love, hitchBOT was attacked by a still-unknown assailant who can be seen in a Snapchat video just wailing on the poor, defenseless robot.
Never in my life did I think I would feel such empathy for a hunk of metal and software, but how can you can you watch this without feeling bad for the little guy?
This is the equivalent of looking WALL-E dead in those sweet, innocent eyes and dismantling him piece by piece while his Hello Dolly! tapes play. There's just no reason for it!
The most ironic part about this whole ordeal is that hitchBOT's creators set him out into the world to test the kindness of strangers. I guess they got their answer, though I doubt it was the one they wanted.
Never fear, though! HichBOT's spirit is still alive and well
According to hitchBOT's ever-optimistic Twitter, his journey continues through all the people that helped him along the way. His love for humans remains unbroken, and maybe, just maybe, we could all learn a little something from this cute little prototype.
Hopefully, all the attention he's getting will lead to a robotic return. I know I'd be interested in seeing hitchBOT: The Sequel.