Michael Fay Operated My Tram

I’m not sure if you’d call this a “celebrity” encounter. It was probably more like a tabloid encounter, or normal-schmoe-who-rose-to-infamy-under-bizarre-circumstances encounter.

For those whose minds aren’t immediately tweaked by the name Michael Fay, let me give you a gentle nudge: in 1994, 18-year-old Fay became one of the few Americans ever sentenced to caning by a Singapore court for alleged acts of vandalism he committed while living with his mother in the strict Eastern country. After an international outcry, the president of Singapore lessened Fay’s punishment from six hard smacks across the naked buttocks with a long white stick to four. President Clinton actually made a plea on the troubled teen’s behalf, which is interesting because Michael Fay doesn’t have breasts.

On May 5, 1994, Fay got what was coming to him (he later said the caning caused only minimal bleeding on his fleshy rear). That June, Mike was released from prison and returned to the U.S. to live with his father. Just a sliver of history in terms of America on the whole, but the frenzy of media attention has kept the imprint of Michael Fay impossibly fresh in my mind. I don’t even have to consult Google image search to tell you he looked sorta like Joey from New Kids On The Block (except mongolodier).

The official Fay timeline post-caning is sketchy at best, but I can tell you in 1995 Mike was residing in the greater Orlando area. I know this because that summer I visited Universal Studios for maybe the second time in my life and Michael Fay was my tram operator on Kongfrontation, the King Kong ride. I think I had heard rumors to the effect he was livin’ in my hood, but I was still shocked into silence when I entered the ride, looked up, and saw Mr. Singapore Cane Victim with his short curly ‘do and semi-crazed eyes. His name tag said Michael, which was all the confirmation I needed.

I nudged my pal Jim Raymond and tried not to be too obvious pointing at the guy. Jim’s jaw dropped. This lead to a strange Mexican standoff. Everyone on that tram probably recognized Michael Fay in an instant, and Michael Fay had to know damn well what kind of potential abuse he would be subjecting himself to working at one of the country’s most popular theme parks. He could see the morbid curiosity in our eyes as plainly as we could see the grit and determination not to crack in his.

Mike did a passable job navigating our fake Roosevelt Island tram through the glorious monkey-based wreckage of 1970s Manhattan. Like most teenagers working theme park rides, I wouldn’t have nominated him for an Oscar. Still, you have to hand it to Michael Fay for taking such an unprotected position that shortly after haunting the pages of the National Enquirer. It must have been his life-long dream to operate Kongfrontation. Kudos to him for trying to leave his ass-beating on the other side of the world.

As Jim and I exited Kongfrontation!, we were definitely snickering, and Jim may have actually muttered something about caning under his breath, but I honestly can’t remember. What I can say with absolute certainty is that I never again encountered Michael Fay in or around the City Beautiful. He (expectedly) fell back into complete obscurity, right along with the Jeff Giloolys and John Wayne Bobbitts of the world. I can’t help but wonder what the poor guy is up to today.

IF YOU have any information as to the current whereabouts of Michael Fay, please contact Robert Stack’s family. Also, I’d love to hear from anyone who actually worked with MF at Universal. I can’t even imagine what that hiring process was like.

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8 responses to “Michael Fay Operated My Tram”

  1. Anonymous says :

    he’s got a facebook page…….Mike Fay

  2. Anonymous says :

    guys gotten really fat! almost unrecognizable; but 22 years is a long time. He now lives in Cincinatti and works at Ceasars Casino.

    I wonder if the marks have disappeared yet…….

  3. Anna says :

    21 years later, I think the man deserves to be left alone for this incident. If he’s made something of his life in the meantime and is a good person, that’s what matters. I can’t even begin to imagine the burden of carrying this weight around with you as a young adult while trying to straighten out your life–a daunting task, no doubt, that would leave almost anyone with a sense of hopelessness and helplessness.

    I have no real connection to him or the case. I recall it vividly b/c he was close to my age and had lived in a neighboring city to mine with his dad. I do, however, know a little about him as an adult, including his present whereabouts. Age/time seems to have been a good thing for him, both physically and in terms of where he is at as a person, mentally, career-wise, etc. He has a college degree and has a stable career. And fortunately for him, he does look different enough to not be widely recognized. (The “fat” comment is, in my opinion, inaccurate. I think he looks pretty good.)

    I don’t say this with an expectation of changing the views of anyone who wants to judge or “out” where he is now. We obviously have different beliefs about chances, forgiveness and compassion. I’m just presenting the other side, as I’m sure there are many people who agree with me and think he deserved the chance to change and live relatively free of public harassment regarding his teenage past, particularly given that he served sufficient punishment for a non-violent crime.

  4. Anonymous says :

    He works at the Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati now as a Table Games manager.

  5. Anonymous says :

    He’s on match.com, too, as Mike997599 (at least as of July ’16).

    He’s lying about his age (changed his age to 39 in last few weeks rather than the 41 he is); and, at the time of this posting, is conveniently allowing his main profile picture to imply he is his much younger and hotter brother. (They’re both in the pic, but users can control which person a pic focuses on in their main profile pic. And it clearly focuses on his brother.)

    That’s just sad. I felt bad for him, but don’t so much now.

  6. bfzzfng@gmail.com says :

    Formiga miúda não morde meu pé…!!!

  7. Anonymous says :

    Not Surprisingly, people who remember 1994; O.J., Tonya Harding, remember Michael Fay. He would be a good subject for one of the ‘What ever happened to…’ news shows. Hell, he might even consent to being interviewed. He does seem to have had some career success.

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