Student ‘kidnapping’ stunt on campus goes wrong

The van showed up early

At 12:30pm on Monday 29th February, members from the University of Southampton’s RAG society staged, with all the dramatic flair that you can imagine, a broad daylight kidnapping to promote their sponsored hitchhike ‘Lost99’.

Now, you’re probably thinking, ‘that sounds like something will go wrong’, and as it turns out, it did.

Picture the scene: A sleepy mid-day rush at the Highfield interchange. A group of school children and some bored students wait impatiently for a late UniLink bus to arrive. Yet did they know that their depressing Monday morning was about to be transformed in to the latest installment of the Taken series.

Suddenly, with all the explosive action of a party popper, a white van appeared, a scruffy looking man emerges and wrestles a girl in to the van, immediately being blocked in by a bus.


A witness told the Soton Tab “The van showed up early. There was no crowd except prospective students and their parents. The van then got blocked in by a bus.”

All the while other members of RAG hand out flyers to the few people standing around wondering quite what just happened.

The publicity stunt was planned for a van to drive past the interchange at a busy time and stage a kidnap to promote the mock kidnap style of RAG’s charity hitchhike ‘Lost99’.

The premise of the hitchhike consists of teams being dropped off in a mystery location 99 miles away from campus. The teams then have to race back to the university campus in 12 hours with no money whilst completing ‘whacky’ challenges along the way.

After the lack of footfall at the Highfield interchange, members of RAG decided to re-stage the kidnapping on the redbrick area outside SUSU with Halls officer candidate Will Coussens as the victim.