A 70-year-old motorist was pleased to discover that three teenage would-be thieves who tried to get away with her car couldn’t because the manual transmission left them stumped.
Known as ‘stick shifts’ in the US, less than 10 per cent of new vehicles sold in America are manual transmission, with the country’s car drivers much more likely to go automatic.
On Saturday, Nancy Frederickson, from Seattle, had walked around her car to get something from the boot when she was held up at gunpoint by someone demanding her keys.
“I thought it was a joke,” Ms Frederickson told Komo4TV. She threw the keys on the ground for them.
Unfortunately for the robbers, they didn’t get very far. “I got a five-speed in there, and they couldn't figure out how to get it going,” Fredrickson said.
She stood by the car just watching the young men trying to work her manual vehicle.
The three boys then left the keys in the ignition before taking off on foot. They can be seen in CCTV footage hurtling through a car park afterwards, though police have reportedly not found them.
Despite laughing about the incident now, she told KiroTV that she was shaken up and in tears when calling for the police.
Ms Frederickson , a black belt in martial arts, said: “You learn that if someone is trying, the best thing you can do is be still. And it's not easy for me to be still at times, but in that situation yes.
“It was quite an interesting day. Let’s put it that way.”
This isn’t the first time that a manual transmission has foiled the plan of a thief. Almost a year to the day, a 19-year-old man forced a woman out of her car under the pretence of needing a lift, but couldn’t drive off with it because it was a ‘stick.’
Antoren Bell, from Florida, abandoned the car but was later picked out of a police line-up and charged.