10 Surprising Things People Lose on Roller Coasters

Fabio and Jay Leno yuck it up on "The Tonight Show," a couple years before Fabio's unfortunate encounter with a goose — which Leno called "a collision between two birdbrains." Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

March 30, 1999 is a day that will live in infamy in the proud state of Virginia. The setting was Busch Gardens, one of the great American amusement parks, and the press had gathered to report on the inaugural run of a brand-new coaster, Apollo's Chariot.

Being 1999, Busch Gardens had recruited the closest thing to a god on Earth — none other than Fabio, he of the flowing blond locks and perpetually open shirt — to drum up publicity for the ride. On that sunny morning, Fabio boarded the coaster flanked by rows of pretty young girls dressed in white Grecian robes. Smiles and polite waves all around as the coaster rolled into action.

A minute later, the cars roared back into the platform bearing a shocking sight. The beautiful Fabio, whose clueless grin had graced the covers of dozens of romance novels, was smeared in blood. Splatters of crimson even stained the innocent white robes of his young courtesans. What the heck had gone down on Apollo's Chariot?

An unlucky goose, apparently, had flown into the coaster's path as the ride roared down a hill at more than 70 mph (113 kph). The front of the coaster struck the goose, killing it instantly, but its large body deflected straight onto Fabio's face, slicing his nose and creating one of the world's greatest photo ops.

Fabio was fine — he only needed three stitches — but his pride took a beating. Jay Leno described it as a "collision between two birdbrains" [source: Holtzclaw].