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A railroad operator lived with his only son. One day, a train was to cross the moveable bridge. Because of the operator's mistake, the bridge was lifted. His son saw the train and went up to pull the emergency lever, but slipped and got struck there. The man had still time to lower the bridge. But that would kill his son. If he didn't lower the bridge, it will kill hundreds of innocent people inside the train. So, how could he save both his son and hundreds of innocent people?

Source: 7 second riddles

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closed as off-topic by Mithrandir, Rand al'Thor, Deusovi Jun 2 '18 at 23:07

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    $\begingroup$ I assume the train crossing is iminent and would prevent the operator from simply rescuing his son and then pulling the lever in sequence? After all one would assume that his son is very near the lever that the operator would need to use anyway? $\endgroup$ – Brent Hackers Jun 2 '18 at 17:38
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    $\begingroup$ "both his son and hundreds of innocent people" - are you saying his son isn't innocent? :-P $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jun 2 '18 at 17:38
  • $\begingroup$ Also, how long does it take for the bridge to lower? could he pull the lever and then retrieve his son in the interim between pulling and the bridge actually lowering? I suppose this depends on whether the lever is powered or some kind of crank... $\endgroup$ – Brent Hackers Jun 2 '18 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ you started with past tense then it became present tense, it was intentional? $\endgroup$ – Oray Jun 2 '18 at 17:48
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What's wrong with:

Just signalling the red flag to the train so that it stops. Then, lower the bridge after it has stopped. If he has time to lower the bridge when the train is moving, surely he would have time when the train is decelerating to rest.

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He could just

go to his son and pull the emergency lever, doing both jobs together?

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This is a brutal answer, but:

You didn't ask "How can he save these hundreds of innocent people?" He could save his son and force his son to have children, thus saving hundreds of his progeny. OR He could save his son, then do humanitarian work to save hundreds of other innocent people.

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If he still has time to make it to the lever

then he can also make it to his son first, since his son was on his way to the lever. So on his way to the lever, he lifts his son up (which should only take a few seconds) and then run towards the lever to lower the bridge.

Or

he first runs towards the lever and lower the bridge, and while the bridge is going down, he helps his son. His son cannot be far away from the lever because he was running towards it.

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Going with the lateral thinking tag,

The father should tell the son to duck(then pull the lever) and since the child is young, he may be small enough to fit under the train. An article on what to do when stuck on a subway rail, "A final option is to simply lie flat — there may be enough clearance for the train to pass over you".

So

This would save both the people on the train and the son.

Here is the video where it was found at time 0 - 23 seconds.

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This is a very far-fetched answer and is not meant to be taken seriously

The railroad operator is actually Jesus, and he lays down his life to save everyone from eternal punishment.

Offending anyone was not my intention.

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