Man almost waist-deep in pothole calls out Tennessee city on TikTok — and it worked

Screengrab from @Traynorjennings TikTok
·2 min read

A Tennessee man has had it up to “here” with cavernous holes in the roads of his city.

“Here” is a knee-deep opening in the middle of the street.

Traynor Jennings took to TikTok to shed light on the pothole in Memphis and tacked on a call to action for the city to fix the roads.

@traynorjennings City of Memphis, these holes are dangerous! #roads #memphis #taxes ♬ original sound - traynorjennings

Jennings’ video, featuring him in a hole on Waring Road, has racked up millions of views on social media.

“Hey city of Memphis, there are holes like this everywhere,” he says in his video posted the last week of May. “We’re in the middle of the road.”

Jennings first noticed the giant hole on a walk with his wife and called the local citizen service complaint hotline, but days later, nothing had changed, he told WREG. That’s when he recorded the video, which resonated with other pothole ridden-communities across the country.

After sharing the video, the hole Jennings had put on display for the internet was covered up with a metal plate and blocked off by the city.

Apparently, a city council member took notice of Jennings’ video and arranged for the hole to be covered, according to WREG.

The City of Memphis responded to Jennings’ video in a Facebook post, saying the opening was not a pothole, but rather a cavity caused by an underwater pipeline.

“When this situation was brought to our attention, public works immediately covered the hole with a metal plate. Before the road can be repaired, the underground problem must be fixed,” the city said. “On average, potholes that are reported to 311 are filled within two days. So far this year, we’ve filled 29,000 potholes.”

The city called Jennings’ actions “unwise” and originally claimed that Jennings removed a plate to stand in the hole, a comment that was later deleted.

Be it a pothole or a cavity, the support from TikTok motivated Jennings to start a second account bringing awareness to damaged roads in Memphis and beyond, named “potholeking.”

According to — an organization bringing awareness to pothole issues in the United States — one-third of about 33,000 traffic fatalities each year involve poor road conditions.

“It’s not about just hurting your tire, I mean, imagine a biker going over that hole. A kid could fall in there, right? They’re not safe,” he told WREG. “If me going out and standing in holes brings change to getting them fixed quicker, I’ll do that,” Jennings said.

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