11 Year Old Saves His Grandfather, Credits Grand Theft Auto

11 Year Old Saves His Grandfather, Credits Grand Theft Auto

Let’s start with a couple of caveats — obviously 11-year-old boys shouldn’t be playing Grand Theft Auto, but when Charley Cullen grabbed the wheel of his Grandfather’s car at 70 mph, after watching him blackout at the wheel, Charley credits his time with Grand Theft Auto as saving both his and his Grandfather’s life.

“The only way I had any experience was the Grand Theft Auto game,” he said.

Despite the fact that his Grandfather had blacked out with his foot on the accelerator, Charley managed to steer the car to safety, before ultimately smashing sideways into a wall, fracturing his own skull, but he still managed to get both himself and his grandfather out of the vehicle and carried him home.

Obviously Charley is a complete hero and went above and beyond what anyone could have possibly expected of him, but I’m always a little wary when people credit a video game in these situations — mainly because it makes it too easy to blame video games when something goes wrong. If a video game can influence us positively, it can impact us negatively.

That being said. Charley’s super quick reactions really did save lives. Pretty amazing.

Hero 11-year-old uses Grand Theft Auto skills to save grandad’s life [The Daily Mirror]


  • If a video game can influence us positively, it can impact us negatively.

    Games can and do influence us whether we realise it or not and also whether we like it or not. That’s because everything we do influences us in one way or another. Every experience we have in life will have an effect on future experiences – and games are no exception.

    • To bury your head in the sand and say games don’t impact on us, negatively or positively is ridiculous. Of course they have positive and negative impacts, people have died playing WoW and people have lived due to steering an out of control car…

    • That’s not true!!! Games can teach us to spell, dance, get fit and type, but they can’t teach us violence.

      – sincerely, typical gamer apologist

  • I’m sure there’s some politician in America that’s looking at the original article and figuring out new ways to make it out so that the kid’s grand dad passed out because of GTA.

      • I think Fox News does a lot more than just target video games. But I’ll leave it at that before I devolve into a senseless rant about how they’re the devil incarnate spreading falsehoods and blasphemies in an attempt to drive the world into a second dark ages.

        Edit: Grammar.

  • I dunno. I think if he’d never played Grand Theft Auto he probably would have reacted the same way and credited it to watching people drive. It’s not like he pulled off some complex driving maneuvers thanks to GTA explaining to him shifting gears, accelerating, breaking, etc. He just grabbed the part of the car that any 11 year old knows controls the steering.
    Don’t get me wrong, he did a great job of it, a lot of people would have freaked out and done nothing, I just don’t think GTA had anymore impact on the outcome than a few years of sitting in the passenger seat. It’s not like driving remains a complete mystery until you get your learners permit.
    Maybe video games increased his confidence but really this is all about him being brave.

    • I’d argue it’s a bit deeper than that…

      Cars do have a weight and feeling to them that we kind of forget about because it becomes second nature.

      It’s probably a bit more like studying carpentry or a similar skill from a book then one day having to use it. You’ll know some of the broad strokes but without the practical experience everything will be a bit wonky.

      Also I don’t think we should be wary of blaming video games. This isn’t about a game influencing and changing the underlying psychology of a person, it’s about taking lessons and skills learned in a digital space and making use of them in real life.

      It’s the ideal of educational gaming!

      (Also the US army…. but message gets mixed there =P)

      • Yeah but it’s not like he drove the car for ages or brought it to a safe stop. I’m really not trying to take away from what he did, he was super brave, his actions saved lives and deserves all the praise he’s getting, but mechanically he just grabbed the wheel and controlled the crash a little. I don’t remember a time when I wouldn’t have understood that. I almost certainly wouldn’t have reacted that way, even as an adult I can’t say for sure that I’d react well, but everything he did I knew before I played racing games.
        Focusing on his comment about the game sort of takes away from his actions. GTA didn’t save him and his grandpa, his quick thinking and courage did.

        You’re right about the attitude towards ‘blaming’ games though. To learn something from a game or other media isn’t the same as blindly imitating a game or falling into some sort of psychotic trance. Admitting that you learned your times tables from a game isn’t the same as admitting that games hypnotised you into knowing your times tables.

        • Reading the linked article has a few more details, though it’s a bit hard to make out.

          It does suggest he was able to exit the highway and a potential hazard of a sheer drop then slid into a wall because he took a turn faster than the car could handle.

          Thinking he could make that turn could possibly be attributed to the game and it’s unrealistic physics, or perhaps he thought he could slide around it?

          Seems his focus was on trying to wake his grandfather and his actions were just meant to be a stopgap. That said if I couldn’t reach the brakes as a passenger in that situation I’m pretty certain the car isn’t coming to a “safe stop” either.

          And I’ve been playing GTA for years 😉

          I do agree to your point though, and the GTA quote does seem be trying to suggest he didn’t have any real experience rather than the saving factor. Brave little kid with good instincts regardless.

  • obviously 11-year-old boys shouldn’t be playing Grand Theft Auto
    while what he did was heroic, that’s the real question for his parents…

  • The thing about this is how the media will be like:
    “Oh, you did something bad and blamed it on a game? It is obviously the game’s fault.”
    But with a good outcome:
    “Oh, you did something good and a game helped you? Why are you even playing this sort of game? You have horrible parents!”
    I hate non-gaming news.

  • He called it “Grand Theft Auto” game.
    Grand Theft Auto refers to the first game released many years ago – the top-down view one.
    Not all that violent.

  • At first I was skeptical if GTA really did influence him and give him the skills to save his grandpa, but apparently on the way home he rammed into 5 people riding scooters and ran over a prostitute for her money.

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