Imagine handling over 240 Million phone calls a year. Now consider the fact that most of those calls come from people who are in a state of panic, fear, anger, delusion, shock or frustration. Not exactly the emotions you look for in a good phone conversation.
This is the calling of our nation’s Thin Gold Line. These are our 9-1-1 dispatchers. Vital members of first-response teams across the country. Their jobs aren’t glorified, but they serve our communities day in and day out to keep us safe.
April is National 9-1-1 Education Month. Each year, efforts are made to inform the public not only about the responsibilities of dispatchers, but also what constitutes an emergency. And every year, call centers throughout the United States continue to receive ridiculous requests and irrelevant calls.
While dispatchers are trained to handle calls of any kind, it would be tough not to laugh at some of the questions they hear on the other end of the line.
Here are just some examples provided by ABC News.
Bad Nail Day
On the day after Christmas, in Deltona, Florida, a woman called 9-1-1 four times complaining that her nails were cut too short by a nail technician. She refused to pay full price for the nail job.
Stuck In a Rough Spot
A Beaverton, Oregon man found himself in an uncomfortable predicament when he dialed 9-1-1. He was stuck in a hot tub. Naked. Without a towel. To make the call even better, he asked the police to bring him hot chocolate with marshmallows and a hug. We’re going to assume that was one request that wasn’t granted.
The Emergency Hookup Hotline
Two Ohio women called 9-1-1 for similar reasons. One dialed five times to claim she was having a hard time finding a date. Evidently, she was trying to reach an automated dating service while drunk.
The other woman took things a step further and called in looking for a husband. She told the dispatcher, “Get me that husband.” When the dispatcher informed her that she could be arrested for calling 9-1-1 with a non-emergency, she responded, “Let’s do it.” She spent three days in jail. You may have guessed it, she was also drunk when she made the call.
Gaming Is Life
To most people, losing a limb or a loved one in an emergency would warrant a 9-1-1 call.
Forty-year-old Anthony White, from Athens, Georgia had something different in mind. He called 9-1-1 in a panic after losing his Playstation.
White claimed his cousin had stolen the gaming console and he was determined to do whatever it took to get it back, including killing his relative.
A calm operator told him, “Anthony, that’s not an emergency,” to which Anthony replied, “Yeah, it is.”
White eventually threatened to shoot police and was arrested on charges of making terroristic threats, which is a felony.
Hey, Come Back
After opening the door to “the cutest cop” Lorna Dudash had seen in a long time, she wasn’t about to let him slip away.
Dudash had originally called the dispatch center to complain about her neighbors being too noisy. When the handsome deputy had come to her door, and left, she called 9-1-1 again, asking if he could come back.
“I know it’s not an emergency but heck, it doesn’t happen very often, a good-looking man comes at your doorstep,” she told the dispatcher.
The deputy returned – to arrest her.
Where’s My Lemonade?
A man in Boynton Beach, Florida phoned 9-1-1 from the drive-thru of a Burger King, complaining that the restaurant had run out of lemonade.
The man felt cheated when he’d ordered a complete meal, but wasn’t told about the lemonade shortage until he was ready to pay.
If he thought he felt cheated, imagine how the dispatcher felt when he demanded she do something about his unpleasant customer experience.
“I got a situation over here at Subway,” is how this phone call started.
It continued with two calls from a Jacksonville, Florida man ranting about his Subway sandwich order not being properly prepared. He had ordered two sandwiches with everything.
“I’m not going to sit here and pay $12 for $10 freaking sandwiches and don’t get what I paid for,” he told the operator.
He requested that both sandwiches be thrown in the trash. They were.
Local media later reported that he was fined $283 and sentenced to one day in jail.
That’s a lot of money to pay for two sandwiches that he didn’t even get to eat.
If there are any lessons to be learned from this article, they may be the following:
- Only call 9-1-1 in a legitimate emergency
- Don’t call 9-1-1 when you’re drunk
- If you’re not sure what constitutes an emergency, definitely don’t ask any of these people
What other funny 9-1-1 calls have you heard or encountered?