Emergency dispatchers receive hundreds, if not thousands of calls every day. While most of them are pretty serious, every now and then they are just so absurd you can’t help but laugh. These 9-1-1 dispatchers shared the calls that were so hilarious—or horrifying—that they just couldn’t keep it to themselves. Not all emergencies end in tragedy…
1. Deer, Oh, Deer
I worked for animal control dispatch in a tourist town during my senior year of high school. One day, I got a call from a lady who had called 9-1-1 dispatch just prior to calling me. Apparently, they forwarded her my number. I picked up the phone to what sounded like a whole carload of very panicked people yelling at once. Once I found out why they were panicking, I just had to laugh.
After asking what was wrong several times, I finally heard someone yell: “A deer! There’s a deer in somebody’s yard, y’all gotta pick it up!” I thought it was an instance of roadkill, so I told them that the animal control officer would pick up the body soon. A kid in the background then started bawling, saying the officer was going to hurt the deer.
Then I paused for a second and asked, “Is the deer alive? What is it doing?” Someone far away from the phone yelled, “It’s just sitting there in the yard!” I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. I said, “Yeah. This is Texas. He lives there. Just don’t touch him or get too close and y’all will be OK.” Not even five minutes later, we got a call from another tourist.
This second caller said that a deer was chasing a family after they tried to take a selfie with it. To this day, I’m still not sure if it was the same family, but I really hope it was.
2. The One-Legged Race
My son, an animal control worker, received a hilarious call from the 9-1-1 dispatcher. It was about a one-legged duck at the park. He actually went to the park to make sure the duck was making out alright with its one leg. After 15 minutes of chasing the duck around, he realized that it was fine. He must have looked so silly chasing after a one-legged duck that was outrunning him.
3. Payphone Potty Problems
When I was working as a dispatcher, a guy called me from a payphone with a peculiar problem. He complained that he had a pipe wrench stuck up his bum and he urgently requested an ambulance. He gave his location to me and I sent emergency workers to the corner where the payphone was. I asked him if he could tell me his appearance so I could be sure the medics could find him.
His response made me burst out laughing. He said, “Look dude, I’ll be the only guy on the corner with a pipe wrench in his bum.” I couldn’t argue with that.
4. The Hunting Hour
My son worked for animal control. We were eating dinner when the 9-1-1 dispatcher called him. Apparently, some panicked lady had called 9-1-1 about an owl in a tree that couldn’t fly. The poor thing had been sitting in a tree for half an hour without moving. Of course, the owl was fine—it was just before dusk and the owl was just waiting for dark so it could go hunt for its dinner.
My mom was a 9-1-1 operator in the San Francisco Bay area in the 1980s and 1990s. She got a call one night but couldn’t understand what the caller was saying. He was slurring his words. She knew he was calling from a bar, so she asked him if he’d been drinking. After asking several times, she was able to determine that he wanted officers, not an ambulance.
Apparently, this guy wanted to file charges against a woman because she had pulled his tongue. My mom asked, “How was she able to pull your tongue?” The guy’s response was bonkers. He said, “Because I stuck it out at her.” My mom had to keep muting the call because she was laughing so hard. Her supervisor went on to use that call in seminars for years and always got a ton of laughter.
6. Working On Our Night Moves
I used to work overnight security. I had to call 9-1-1 dispatchers more times than I cared to count. My favorite story though was about this “gentleman” who was obviously on something. He was jittery; just constantly touching his face and refusing to sit still. He tried to break into a house next to our campus…and from there, things got really weird.
I dialed the dispatchers immediately. As I was giving them a description of what he was wearing, he started stripping his clothes off, running across our campus. Obviously, describing his clothes at that point was useless. So, I had to tell the operator, “Yeah, he’s naked in the middle of the street, laying down. I think he’s doing the worm.”
Before the officers arrived, I lost sight of the guy on camera, so I had no clue where he was. Five squad cars showed up and they managed to round up the guy within minutes. When I went outside to give the officers a statement, the guy was trying to convince them that he was the one who called them.
It was hilarious watching him try to convince the officers that he had called them to report someone for taking his shoes. Obviously, they didn’t buy his the-dog-ate-my-homework story for a second…but they eventually let him go and he just ran off into the night. Barefoot, no shirt.
7. I’m Not A Fan
My late aunt once called 9-1-1 dispatch with the most ridiculous complaint ever. When the operator answered the phone, she complained that my uncle wouldn’t change the fan setting. It was blowing on her. Because she lived in a small community in northeast Michigan, the dispatcher was still able to send officers to change the fan setting for them. It was hilarious.
8. How To Exercise One’s Demons
I’m not an operator but I had a friend in high school with substance abuse issues. Years after she sobered up, she told me the hilarious story about how she had ended up in rehab. She had called dispatch herself and told them the craziest and most obvious lie. She said, “There are demons living in my walls and I’d like the officers to remove them.”
She said that when she was high, she used to sit outside and watch people swim for hours. She did that day after day for two years. When she sobered up, she realized there was no pool.
9. The Microwave Intruder
I worked as a dispatcher. My department used to dispatch our area’s animal control after hours. Once, I received a call from a guy who was freaking out because he caught a possum in his house. I asked him which room he was able to confine the animal in but he didn’t tell me. Eventually, after I kept asking, the guy said he managed to trap the poor little critter in a microwave.
I had many questions.
I’m an emergency room nurse. I’ve had multiple patients call 9-1-1 from inside the ER for various reasons; some of which were more valid than others. This one gentleman called the dispatcher from a room in the ER with a less than a valid complaint. He told the dispatcher that the doctor didn’t believe his story about how a bottle of shampoo ended up in his rectum.
He reported feeling “disrespected.”
11. I Just Need The Stuff
A patient I was seeing in the ER became addicted to her pain medication. It was, according to her, a full-scale 9-1-1 emergency. She tried time and time again to get more pain medication from one of our doctors, but if there’s no diagnosable problem, it’s often sticky territory to keep giving the patient pain medication. After multiple rejections, she decided to take things to the next level.
When the time came to discharge her, she jammed the door to the exam room shut by stuffing coins in the door frame and barricading the stretcher against the door. Before our security personnel could enter the room, she’d dialed 9-1-1 herself. We could hear her complaining to the dispatcher about our “lack of care” and wanted to press charges.
I could hear the dispatcher on the other around laughing at the ridiculous call.
12. The Library Loo
I’m not an operator, but I definitely gave one dispatcher a good laugh. One time, I went to a local library to do work as it was too loud at my house. I was there for a couple of hours and at some point, I noticed that the library would be closing in 25 minutes. I packed all of my stuff and took it to the washroom with me as to not leave any of my belongings unattended.
When I finished in the washroom, I stepped out to a scene from a zombie movie or something. The whole place was empty and dark. That’s when I realized…they locked me in. The librarians must have thought that I had left. I walked right out the front door but accidentally triggered the alarm. I didn’t want it to look like I was driving away from this mad scene in case anyone might have seen me, so I called 9-1-1.
I explained over the phone that I had gotten myself locked in the library while using the washroom. The dispatcher on the other end was laughing so hard she could barely breathe. She sent the whole local department out because they thought it was the funniest thing they had ever heard of. I was so embarrassed.
13. Please Hang Up And Try Your Call Again
There was a period of time where this nice old lady got my work number confused with 9-1-1 dispatch. She was a little crazy (probably suffering from dementia), but harmless for the most part. She would call every few weeks to complain about random stuff and I would kindly explain to her that she had the wrong number.
One day, I decided to just keep her on the line while I continued working. I chimed in every now and again with “conversation” noises like “Mhmm” and “Yeah, okay” whenever she paused. I think she was on the line for like forty-five minutes. In the end, she thanked me profusely and seemed very happy. I think she just needed someone to talk to.
Now when I think about it, it just kind of makes me sad.
14. Better Call Molly Maid
My friend who works as an operator told me this story. A woman called 9-1-1, alleging some funny business had taken place in her car. She said that she had left her car with a valet service while she had gone shopping. When she picked up her car, she said she noticed a peculiar stain on her passenger seat.
The woman told my friend that she was convinced that the stain was left there by the valet worker. My friend asked if she had complained to the company, and she said she had. So, my friend, barely containing his amusement, informed her that the soap they use for fabrics sometimes leaves a mark when it dries.
He told the woman that if she just gave the stain a quick rub, it would disappear. That’s when the woman made the funniest (and grossest) admission. She told my friend that she knew the company was lying because she put her finger on the stain and then tasted it. Apparently, it did not taste like soap. Somehow, my friend convinced her to complain to the valet company instead and ended the call.
My friend fell off their chair, laughing hysterically.
15. What’s Going On Over There?
I once worked as a dispatcher. On the system that I used, home addresses automatically popped up when people called I received a call one night that sounded pretty serious. No one was answering me on the other end, but it sounded like someone was choking a woman. In a rush, I had the phone company track the address and immediately sent out the cavalry.
When the officers arrived, they pounded on the front door. On the other end of the phone, I heard a woman say “Oh my God! There are five cop cars outside!” A guy met the responding officers downstairs at the front door and a woman picked up the phone. What I thought was a terrible struggle turned out to be a hilarious mistake.
The woman on the other end whispered, “Hello?” into the phone. I said, “Hello, ma’am, this is 9-1-1 dispatch. Are you OK?” She said, “I’m fine. We were, uh…busy.” I explained to her that I had been listening for the last few minutes and I could practically hear her blushing through the phone. Apparently, the couple had been having a little romp in the sack.
The woman said, “Oh, we must have knocked the phone on the floor.” The responding officers told the guy they had to see her in person to make sure she was okay. She went downstairs and they said she looked pretty embarrassed. Can’t imagine why. Sounded like a good night to me.
16. I Regret To Inform You…
While working as a dispatcher, I had a conversation with a man who reported his wife missing. It sounded like a very plausible story and the man seemed to be genuinely concerned. After asking a few more questions, however, I was able to find out who the guy was and learned more about him from our system.
Turns out, his wife had actually passed away seven years ago and he was suffering from dementia. I decided to break the “bad news” to him while on the phone. I said, “Sir, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you. Your wife has been deceased for seven years now.” I anxiously awaited the guy’s response on the other end, expecting heartbreak and tears.
The next thing I know, the guy’s voice perked right up. He was like, “Oh, right! I completely forgot! Well, I’m glad I can stop looking now. Thanks, bye!” Click.
17. One Cool Cat
Back in the mid-1970s, prior to centralized 9-1-1 dispatchers, fire departments had to answer their own phone calls for emergencies. Every fire department had its own emergency number. I worked at a fire station where the emergency phone was broadcast on a speaker throughout the station, so we all got a good laugh at this one caller.
Some guy called in one day saying, “There’s a cat just lyin’ in the gravel.” The responder asked if the cat was injured and the caller confirmed that it was. He went on to specify that the cat was bleeding pretty badly and not breathing so well, and he urged us to get there as soon as possible. The responder held back a chuckle.
The responder informed the guy that we would contact the Human Society to deal with the cat as we didn’t respond to those types of calls. The guy said, “OK,” and then hung up. But just moments later, the phone rang again. It was the same guy. He said that we should probably come ourselves, but the responder said that we had already dispatched the Humane Society.
Then the guy was like, “Nah, I don’t think you understand. The cat’s a dude.” We sprang into action when we realized that he had just been using a slang term.
18. Pleasure To Make Your Acquaintance
I’m not a 9-1-1 operator, but I spent some time doing OnStar and telematics-type stuff. The most memorable moments I can recall are the ones when I was still connected to the vehicle after I already sent a dispatch to the scene. Oftentimes, I would have to just wait on the line after the accident to make sure everything works out okay. The one accident that has stuck with me the most is actually the one where I heard the least noises in the background.
I heard a sigh over the phone and then there was just silence. Nothing but the sounds of passing traffic. One of my coworkers completed the dispatch in accordance with standard procedure and I attempted to make contact a couple more times but to no avail. At that point, I just had to wait on the line and listen to make sure the ambulance arrived on the scene.
All of a sudden, I heard a car stop and then talking in the background. Soon after, someone else stopped at the scene. It sounded prayers were being recited in the background. I then realized what I had been hearing from the very beginning of the call—it was the caller’s last breath.
The only time that this person’s entire existence crossed mine was at the last moment of his life. And he doesn’t even know it. Life is fickle—be good to everyone.
19. It Was A Dark And Stormy Night
I was a 9-1-1 dispatcher for several years. One of my most memorable calls was when a hysterical woman rang me up on a stormy night. She was absolutely incomprehensible. I kept saying, “Ma’am…ma’am…you have to calm down. I can’t understand you.” This went on for what felt like forever. I couldn’t get anything useful out of her.
The officers were en route to what I assumed was a horrifying situation. After much confusion, I was able to make out something she said about being with her sister. “How old is your sister?” I asked. Instantly suspicious, I prodded further, “How old are you?” The caller’s answer made the whole situation so clear. “Five,” the caller said.
Turns out, it was a five-year-old boy. I had spent the past half hour calling a little boy “ma’am” over and over again. Oops. The storm had woken him up and his parents were gone. They had gone out to move their cars to the garage in the case of hail. The poor boy was just very scared. The officers still responded and talked to the parents about not leaving sleeping children alone, but everybody was unscathed.
It wasn’t my most tragic call, but it is one I’ve never forgotten. Poor little ma’am.
20. The Call Is Coming From Inside The Hospital
I used to work as a relay operator (7-1-1) and often got misdialed 9-1-1 calls. We would eventually have to connect them to 9-1-1. but since they connected through us first, we still had to stay on the line. I’m not sure if my most memorable call was one I should laugh or cry at. I got a call from an old woman who fell out of bed and couldn’t get up.
I connected her to 9-1-1 and from there, they tracked her location. The 9-1-1 operator was like, “Ma’am, are you at the hospital? Are you calling from inside the hospital?” Oh, my goodness she was already in an emergency response center. The woman was like, “Yes! I fell and no one will help me!” I was laughing and crying at the same time.
I’m not sure what the 9-1-1 operator did, but about ten minutes after that, I could hear someone enter her room to help her up. Apparently, this poor woman fell out of her hospital bed and no one noticed for over an hour. She had to drag herself to the phone and dial emergency services. I was like, note-to-self: never go to this hospital.
21. In Need Of A Tow
I was working as a dispatcher when a guy called in saying that he got his truck stuck in the mud. Apparently, he got himself into that mess when he was out doing donuts at three in the morning. I told him that, as a dispatcher, there wasn’t much I could do for him. I told him he needed to call for a tow truck to winch him out.
The guy got angry with me and claimed that I was leaving him stranded in the dark. I was like, how old are you, dude? Anyway, I told him that I could send an officer to check on him if the area was unsafe. That’s when he said something that startled me. He was like, “Y’all are tryin’ to set me up. I’m on probation and you tryin’ to send me back to prison!”
The tow truck driver eventually arrived but while he was trying to winch him out, the guy’s behavior only got weirder. He kept taking off his clothes and trying to fool around with his girlfriend in the back seat of the same truck that the driver was working on getting free from the mud. The tow truck driver was like, “I’m outta here,” and left.
The guy was now super angry that the tow driver didn’t give his girlfriend a ride home. He even said he was going to fight the officers when they showed up. So, I sent additional officers out. His night went from bad to worse.
22. Stop In The Name Of The Law
I got a call at three in the morning. The woman on the other end reported a suspicious vehicle outside of her house. I got a description and sent my officers en route. Then, at some point, the woman exclaimed, “It’s leaving!” I asked her which direction the vehicle was headed and relayed it to the responding officers. At this point, I had four officers converging like a net on this vehicle.
I had a moment to ask the woman, “What exactly did the vehicle do?” When I heard her response, I nearly fell off my chair laughing. “They just stopped at the stop sign for a moment and then they moved on.” Well, crisis averted.
23. WWE Snake-down
I worked as a dispatcher in Europe. I’ve had more hilarious calls than I can count, but this one, in particular, was just absurd. A man called to say that he was wrestling with a dangerous ten-meter-long snake in his backyard. I wasn’t sure how a giant snake appeared in his backyard, but I dispatched officers anyway.
The officers called him back but his father answered. The conversation was quite funny. “Do you know where your son is?” the officers asked. The guy’s father said, “I don’t know. In the backyard, I guess.” The officers were pretty surprised at the father’s casual response but they still advised him to check on his son. When his dad peeked out the back window, he burst into laughter.
Turned out, the guy was wrestling a bush. Not sure how he confused it with a snake.
24. Calling The “Hot” Line
I called 9-1-1 and reported a rather funny accident. My deck had a couple of unsafe spots in it where the wood was pretty weak. Normally, I avoided them just fine, but one night, it had snowed. I stepped outside for just a minute to look around because snowfall is very rare where I live. In doing so, I forgot about the unsafe spots. I stepped on one and my leg dropped straight through.
As I fell, the boards on either side of my leg bent, then retracted. The hole was smaller than my knee and I couldn’t get out. My girlfriend got me a coat to sit on because my bum was already starting to get cold, and then we called 9-1-1. Fortunately, I live near the fire department, so they were there in less than three minutes.
When the fire department arrived, even the four super-strong firemen couldn’t pull me out. One of them went to get a chainsaw out of the fire truck, and while we waited, I started singing “The Pit” from Parks and Rec. They all joined in with me, and we had a good laugh about my situation. They managed to get me out with the chainsaw.
Other than having a sore, purple leg for a few days, I was fine. I bought them all coffee a few days later. They were super fun guys—and super-hot too. I would definitely put my leg through my deck again if they came back to rescue me.
25. Digging For Black Gold
I’m a 9-1-1 operator for the ambulance service. I was processing a call one time that required a Cantonese interpreter over the phone as the caller did not speak English. The interpreter informed me that the caller was phoning for her husband who was experiencing some…discomfort? Apparently, the caller’s husband was having abdominal pain because he had been constipated for over a week.
The caller and the interpreter went back and forth for some time before I interrupted. I asked the interpreter what they talking about. The interpreter had to clarify because not even he could believe what the caller was asking. The interpreter said, “She is asking if she can help her husband out…using a spoon.”
I was like, “No! Definitely don’t do that.” I don’t know why he couldn’t just take some laxatives.
26. My Dad’s Gonna Be So Angry
I’m a former EMT dispatcher. I was on “light duty” due to an injury I had received while working rescue calls. I also worked night shifts, which always had the craziest type of calls. One night, I received a call from a hysterical teenage boy. After getting him to calm down, he told me that a giant tube monster had swallowed his friend. I was already pretty skeptical, but I continued with the call anyway.
I asked him where this tube monster was.“Are you there with the tube monster right now?” I asked. He said that he was and that he could hear his friend in the tube monster’s stomach, just trapped in there. After finally being able to get the location of the caller, I dispatched units to the scene.
At this point, I had been on the phone with this young man for about 20 minutes, but I had the caller stay on the phone until help arrived. He then said, “Man, my dad’s gonna be so mad.” I asked him why. He said because he promised his dad that he wouldn’t do substances anymore. Apparently, he and his friend had been “trippin’” all night.
So, I had to get on the radio and advise crews going to the scene of the mental status of both the caller and the victim. Turns out, the guy wasn’t that out of it after all. When the crews arrived, they found the teen at the bottom of a hill stuck inside of an actual plastic tube that they had been going inside of. They were literally rolling each other down the hill.
Not technically a monster, but pretty accurate.
27. A Delicate Situation
I used to be a 9-1-1 operator. I was also responsible for training new hires on answering phone calls. One day, I got a medical call for a guy wanting an ambulance because of a…shall we say…delicate situation. The guy was complaining that he had terrible hemorrhoids. I tried to conceal my laughter and carry on with the call as normal.
I tried to get more information from him like his name, phone number, and where he was located. I managed to get all of that just before he started screaming, “My bum! My bum!” During his screams, I turned to my trainee and blankly stared at her. That was about six years ago. We still joke about it to this day.
28. When Animals Attack
I’m not a dispatcher myself, but I used to listen to this Atlanta radio show in the 1990s. They somehow got their hands on the funniest 9-1-1 call I’ve ever heard. They used to play it all the time and I just couldn’t stop laughing, no matter how many times I heard it. It’s made me think twice about “roadkill” every time I drive now.
So, this guy had stopped to pick up what he thought was a lifeless deer. It just looked like roadkill. He put the animal in his station wagon. Well, that’s when the deer woke up. The poor thing must have been even more scared than he was because it started going berserk—kicking and biting this guy who thought he was being a good Samaritan.
The guy managed to stop the car at a phone booth and he dialed 9-1-1, demanding a “bambalance.” While he was phoning the dispatcher, things took an even comedic turn. Some stray mutt started trying to bite him while he was in the phone booth, probably because he smelled like a deer. Some part of me felt bad for the guy, but the call was hilarious.
You got all the sound effects of the barking dog and the man hollering at it while trying to explain the zany mishap that got him into that situation. The dispatcher was clearly in stitches. I never did figure out what happened to the deer.
29. Mom, Dad. Please Help.
I was working as a dispatcher when I received the most awkward call ever…awkward for the caller, hilarious for me. The parents of a nineteen-year-old female had dialed 9-1-1 for their daughter. She was a little, erm, occupied. She had been using a toy in the back door when it got stuck. As if that wasn’t funny enough, it got even more embarrassing for this girl.
Her parents explained that they had also been unable to remove the toy from their daughter’s derriere. Part of me wishes that I could have been the EMT on that call instead of the dispatcher if only to see how embarrassed they all must have been.
30. Walk A Mile In My Shoes
This crazy lady from my small town called my husband who worked as a dispatcher one summer night. It was a pretty hot night (it routinely gets over 115 degrees in the summer where I live). Anyway, this crazy lady said that she had walked three miles from her apartment. She wasn’t calling because she needed medical assistance, oh no. That would have been too logical.
Instead, she called the 9-1-1 emergency dispatcher because she needed a ride back home. When my husband asked her why she couldn’t walk back herself, she said it was because she was barefoot and her feet hurt. Well, that was interesting to him, so he asked her where her shoes were. The lady responded by saying, “I’m carrying them.” She had walked for three miles and hadn’t thought to put them on.
31. Do You Have License To Ride That?
I used to work as a dispatcher working nights. One time, in the middle of my shift, I got a report about a guy trying to ride on a moose. Needless to say, I dispatched an officer right away even though it could have been a silly prank call. Man, I am so glad that it wasn’t and bummed out that I hadn’t responded to the scene myself to see it with my own eyes.
The officer arrived on the scene and indeed, there was a man trying to ride a moose. But that wasn’t even the funniest part—the guy was wearing a high visibility vest and a helmet. The officer questioned him and he explained that his girlfriend made him put it on for safety reasons. Oh, of course. Makes perfect sense. For all we know, it could have Santa Claus out for a midnight reindeer ride.
32. Now That’s Just Cold
I was a dispatcher and recently received the most ridiculous call I’ve ever gotten. It was a particularly cold morning in my area. We were getting all of the usual calls that you would expect to get with icy conditions on the roads—widespread crashes, lane closures, etc. I thought it was going to be a pretty “by the book” morning until this one lady called in.
I answered the call and she started complaining about a suspicious substance on the road that made her car slip. She explained that she had been driving too fast to see what it was, but insisted that something strange was going on. That something strange was, of course, a phenomenon the rest of the world knows “weather.”
33. Achy-Breaky Heart
Dispatchers must have quite a bit of fun on the job. Once, my dad got a call from 9-1-1 dispatch. At first, he was really confused because he hadn’t called them in the first place. They asked, “Sir do you have a daughter?” My dad hesitated but said, “Yes. Why?” The dispatcher tried to conceal their laughter. They said, “Well, she just called and claimed you broke her heart.”
My sister had gotten in trouble when she was about five or six and, in her childlike way, she called 9-1-1 claiming, “My dad broke my heart.” She had hung up in embarrassment after the dispatcher began laughing.
34. These New-Fangled Things
I’m a 9-1-1 operator, although, sometimes, I wish I wasn’t. This older gentleman called and stated that he had just gotten one of those push-to-start cars. I thought maybe it had caught on fire or something, but his plight was something I completely didn’t expect. He explained that he didn’t have the key on him and that the car had locked itself, so he didn’t know how to get out. I really wanted to laugh, but the poor guy seemed genuinely panicked.
As calmly as I could while choking back laughter, I told the gentleman to look for the unlock button on the door. I even told him that he could just pull up the little button beneath the window, i.e., the actual locking mechanism. It was like trying to explain a computer to a caveman. He just didn’t get it.
At that point, he broke out into a full-blown panic attack. He was absolutely certain that his “fancy” new car was going to his coffin. I sent officers and the fire department to his location and stayed on the phone with him. He was so distraught that he asked me to tell his wife that he loved her. It was like watching someone flail around in a panic in one foot of water.
When the fire department arrived on the scene, they pointed to the unlock button and just made a pressing motion. Then he got out. His new car, not surprisingly, was not his coffin.
35. The Porcelain Portal
When I worked as a 9-1-1 dispatcher, I got my fair share of strange calls. But this one was just, well, you’ll see. So, I was working pretty late one night and I got a call from a gentleman reporting an issue with his toilet. For whatever reason, it was a bit hard for me to understand exactly what the problem was. I think it was the way the guy was speaking.
Anyway, I was able to discern that there was some kind of issue with his toilet. After a little while, I determined to the best of my ability that the toilet was overflowing and he didn’t know what to do. Although plumbing issues are absolutely not an appropriate reason for calling 9-1-1, it wasn’t unheard of. To a certain extent, I can understand the thought process and people have certainly called for less.
After a bit more talking, I realized that he had not actually called about a plumbing issue. You see, it wasn’t water that was coming out of his toilet—it was demons. The demons were spilling out of his toilet and he needed help. I decided to dispatch some officers. I know that uniformed officers aren’t always the best response for a mental health issue, but it was the only option available to me.
I kept him on the phone as he was fairly distressed. Unfortunately, it was a busy evening and the officers wouldn’t be able to get to him for a few minutes. As such, I asked if he could close the toilet lid. He said he could and he did. Apparently, this stopped the demons from coming out of his toilet. The guy calmed down almost immediately and I was able to end the call.
I can’t remember what ended up happening with him. My guess is that the responding officers took him voluntarily to the local ER that had a psychiatric crisis center. But it stands out as the time I solved a caller’s toilet demon problem with a very straightforward solution.
36. Please Speak Up
I spent a few months working as an EMS call receiver when I wasn’t actively working in the field. I had more than a few calls that had me shaking my head in horror or in disbelief, but there was one call where I had to hand my headset to the guy next to me because I was laughing so hard, I couldn’t continue the call.
I received this call one day and went through all of the regular questions first. I was able to confirm the address and that the caller was requesting an ambulance. I asked the most obvious question, “Why do you need an ambulance?” The caller, who sounded to me like a young woman, spoke in such a hushed tone that I couldn’t hear her.
She mumbled something along the lines of, “There’s hrumfeses coming out myhurgina.” I couldn’t make that out so I was like, “What, ma’am? I didn’t catch that.” So, she repeated herself but she was still mumbling. I tried to replay what she had said in my head but I still couldn’t make it out. “I’m sorry, ma’am,” I said, “I can’t hear you.”
Apparently, this exchange took too long for someone else who was with her because a very angry male voice came out of the receiver next. What he said next took me completely off guard: “She has poop coming out of her hoohaa!” I didn’t even have time to compose myself. I just cracked and started laughing until my ribs hurt. I had to hand my headset to the guy sitting next to me.
Fortunately, he was able to finish the call for me. When he hung up, he just looked at me, shook his head, and went back to his own terminal.
37. Lost In Translation
I had one funny call not too long ago. A gentleman called dispatch and I received the call. This guy immediately began speaking in Spanish. It was no big deal because we have translators for these situations exactly. I knew enough Spanish to tell the guy, “No habla Español. Uno momento, por favor.” I dialed the Spanish translator and added them to the line on the phone.
Turns out, the call was nothing too serious. The guy had just heard some shouting and odd noises and wanted some officers to swing by and make sure everything was OK. I was in the middle of trying to explain to the guy that I had dispatched officers to his location when suddenly, the language line dropped.
I had already exhausted my high school Spanish skills, so I just fumbled in English, telling the guy, “One minute. I’m so sorry!” I fumbled with the keypad to redial the language line when the guy coolly just piped up saying, in perfect English, “So…are the officers coming?” I turned beet red. The guy could have understood me the whole time.
My brain froze and I just manage to say, “Yes sir, they’ve been dispatched. Call us back if anything changes.” I stared at my screens for a hot minute before breaking into distressed laughter.
38. When Sweaters Attack
I have a dark sense of humor, so this might not be funny for everyone. A man called and said he had dislocated his shoulder. For whatever reason, he sounded sort of funny; almost like he was somehow trapped in something. I asked him if he had fallen or perhaps gotten himself stuck in a trap of some kind. I couldn’t understand why he sounded the way he did.
“No,” the guy said. “I was putting on a thermal shirt and my shoulder popped out. Now I’m stuck. I was going to drive myself to the hospital but I’d have to drive with my arm out of the window.” Maybe it was the image in my mind of this guy stuck putting a shirt on or driving Ace Ventura style to the hospital—whatever it was, it left me in hysterics.
I managed to gather myself long enough to dispatch an ambulance for a “shirt extrication” and transport.
39. Baby Behind Bars
I had to make a 9-9-9 call once. In case that’s not clear, that’s the emergency number in the UK where I live. I felt like a total idiot afterward, but at the very least, I gave the dispatcher and the first responders a funny story to tell. So, my daughter, who was about one at the time this happened, was crying in her cot.
I went to check on her to see what the fuss was all about. When I saw what she did, my jaw dropped. Somehow, my genius little girl had managed to get her head stuck between the bars of her cot. I tried for a good ten minutes to get her out but to no avail. Reluctantly, and with a great deal of shame, I had to call the fire brigade to come out. I must have sounded so stupid on the phone.
“And what’s the purpose for your call, sir?” the dispatcher asked. “Oh, my baby’s head is stuck between her cot bars.” Anyway, the fire brigade responded, lights and sirens blaring and the whole nine yards. Four burly firemen came rushing in and tried to pry the bars apart. I felt somewhat relieved that they couldn’t do it either but also frightened for my little girl.
We ended up having to use tons of dishwashing liquid to grease her poor little head. There was lots of gentle tugging and, eventually, out popped her wee head.
40. It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s…
I don’t know how true this one is because I only heard it on the radio, but I thought it was pretty funny so I wanted to share it anyway. The radio host talked about this one 9-9-9 caller who wanted to report a strange object in the sky. Now, I’m all for a good UFO story, but this was hilarious. It turns out that the mysterious object in the sky was none other than the moon.
At least the caller didn’t call it a giant ball of cheese.
41. Our Pets, Ourselves
I got a call from a sign language relay service once. Now, these interpreters take their jobs very seriously. They are, after all, speaking on someone else’s behalf. They convey the emotion as best as they can and never change the wording. I totally understand why they do this, but this one time, I really wish they took some “creative” liberties.
So, on this call, the operator identified herself as a relay service before she broke into screaming, “My baby’s not breathing! My baby’s not breathing!” This was obviously a very serious situation, but my training kicked in and I remained calm. I asked how old the baby was and the interpreter said that it was one year old.
I was working fire and rescue that day, and responding to the seriousness of the issue, I dispatched an ambulance, an engine, and the battalion commander. My co-worker across the room mobilized a response from uniformed officers as well. We were determined to save this baby’s life and we threw everything we had at the situation.
I returned to the caller and started relaying infant CPR and EMD instructions. I gave her instructions to completely cover and seal the baby’s mouth with its own. Then, the interpreter dropped the biggest revelation. “What if I can’t get around the whiskers?” the interpreter asked. In that instant, my heart sank. You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought.
“Ma’am, what species is your baby?” I asked. “Cat.” Ugh, I was so annoyed. I couldn’t have rolled my eyes any harder. I had to get back on the radio and tell everyone to scale down the response. Not that I don’t love cats, but seriously? The battalion commander continued on to see if they could help anyway, as did the uniformed officers.
Unfortunately, the cat did not make it. While that is very sad because I love animals, I couldn’t help but question one thing. That interpreter had been watching the caller the whole time and did not think to tell me that the “baby” was, in fact, a cat? I get that they are not supposed to change the content, but c’mon. It is very dangerous for emergency vehicles to drive code.
Fortunately, everyone was able to laugh it off. I got a bunch of calls from the EMTs and officers throughout that shift laughing their butts off. I haven’t done the job in three years now, but that’ll always be fresh in my mind as one of my favorite stories.
42. Splash Down
In addition to 9-1-1 calls, my agency also answers non-emergency calls. I mostly work with women on my shift, but one day, we got this caller, a guy, with an interesting problem. He kept calling until he finally got through to me. I was the lone male operator that morning, so he was glad he could air his complaint to “someone who would understand.”
He should have kept calling because I’m not sure that I could empathize with his particular…plight. This guy said that he had used a toilet in one of the buildings we typically dispatched maintenance for. He wasn’t complaining about cleanliness or something practical like that. Oh, no. His complaint was that the water level in the toilet was too high.
And he knew that it was too high because his jewels touched the water when he sat down.
43. A Gruesome Way To Go
This one has a bit of gore so brace yourself. When I was still in training, my supervisor would always play recorded training calls for me and the other trainees to listen to. In one call, the caller claimed that her friend was very badly injured and in mortal danger. Clearly, this was a serious situation that needed immediate attention.
They explained that they were in the car and had pulled over to an access road near a busy restaurant. As the dispatcher asked more questions, we discovered that the caller was holding her friend’s internal organs in her hands. Dispatch asked all the appropriate questions and eventually, the caller said that the friend had been struck by a car as they were crossing the busy street in front of the restaurant.
Dispatch kept talking to her until a unit arrived on the scene. They disconnected the call and the next thing we heard on the line was the unit keying up and trying to hold back their laughter. Between roars of laughter, the responding unit reported that the victim had, sadly, succumbed to their injuries prior to their arrival. When the victim’s identity was finally revealed, everyone was shocked.
The victim was a squirrel.
44. One Embarrassing Phone Call
I used to work as an emergency dispatcher. Some nights, I kid you not, felt like a Jerry Springer episode. I received a call once about a couple getting busy in the back parking lot of a post office where they kept the postal trucks. They had obviously locked the gates—and the frisky couple—up for the night. But that wasn’t even the funniest part.
The guy tried to climb over the fence to get out. At first, I thought that he was trying to save himself from some embarrassment, but that didn’t end up being the case. The parking lot fence had barbed wire at the top and this poor Romeo got all cut up as he tried to make his escape. He managed to push through the pain as he made it over.
Someone else called 9-1-1 about a guy bleeding profusely in front of the post office. When the officers arrived on the scene, they found the guy covered in blood and his lady friend locked in the post office parking lot. They booked both of them for trespassing, I think, and at that point, the couple’s night turned from bad to worse.
After the officers took the couple in, they both had their one phone call to make. Apparently, the only person that the woman could call was her husband. The boyfriend had to go to the hospital for stitches. Now I know why he wanted to get over that fence so bad. Better the ER than the husband.
45. Button Smasher
I’m not an operator, but my dad had a really funny interaction with a dispatcher once. My dad had gotten a new car and he was still trying to figure it out. One day, he was just pressing random buttons in his car to see what they all did. He ended up accidentally pressing the in-car 9-1-1 button without knowing what it was.
When the dispatcher answered my dad’s call, he was insanely confused. He didn’t even know if they had called him or what. Once they had a few laughs, the operator told him to please hang up. My dad explained that he was happy to…once, he figured out how. It was pretty funny.
46. A Very Serious Blockade
I’m not a 9-1-1 operator but I got a funny story. My older cousin, Steve, lived with his parents until he was 45. He’s always been a strange one. Apparently, he was experiencing some problems with constipation, but instead of oh, I don’t know, behaving like a normal adult and taking some laxatives, he decided to call in the cavalry.
Steve thought that his backed-up bowel was, indeed, an emergency and proceeded to dial 9-1-1. He begged my aunt and uncle to help him but, understandably, they wanted nothing to do with his problem. He was a fully grown, six-foot-tall, 380-pound man. They did not want to see what came out of his back end.
By the time the EMTs arrived at my aunt and uncle’s place, my dear cousin Steve had stripped off all of his clothes. Without a second thought or any shame, he went right up to the EMTs, pried his cheeks apart, and demanded that they relieve him of his problem. I don’t how the EMTs found the strength to sta, but they managed to keep it together.
They tried explaining to Steve that he should really just try some over-the-counter medication instead of paying for the cost of an ambulance and hospital trip. Whatever they told him, they managed to talk him down. In the end, Steve stayed home and waited for his system to remove the blockage in its own sweet time. Well, that’s my family.
God bless the EMTs of the world.
47. Hold On Tight And Please Let Go
I had a call from a male who said he needed an ambulance because “the beans were out of the pod.” Now, I didn’t know what that meant; although I kind of had an idea. Not being entirely sure, though, I asked a few more questions. I wish I had never gotten the answer. It sounded like the worst thing ever.
The man explained to me that he had an argument with his wife. Things got pretty heated and they actually got physical with each other. She had grabbed his private parts tightly with her hand. Without really thinking about it, he had pushed her away. To put it mildly, she did not let go. And, well, the beans came out of the pod.
I dispatched the ambulance for a “degloving” injury, as well as some officers who happened to be nearby. The ambulance made me repeat the dispatch and then called by phone to confirm. They couldn’t believe their ears. Just imagine what this guy felt.
48. Pepperoni Pizza, Please
I had a call that started out weird but actually ended up being pretty serious. The caller, a woman, kept asking for a pizza. I tried to inform her repeatedly that she had dialed 9-1-1, but she just kept asking for a pizza. That’s when I finally clued into what was happening. There was someone there with her preventing her from speaking openly.
I dispatched the nearest officers and checked the history at the address.
There were multiple previous domestic disturbance calls. The officers arrived and when they went inside, they were shocked. The female was kind of banged up. They had to apprehend the boyfriend. I thought she was pretty clever to use that trick. It was definitely one of the most memorable calls I’ve had.
49. An Unexpected Friend
I worked as a dispatcher for a cab company. One day, I got a call from an old man whose voice was trembling as he spoke. I politely asked for his drop-off address and he told me, “The emergency room.” I was curious, so I asked him, “Feeling a little under the weather?” The guy’s response was absolutely frightening.
“I tried to take my life,” he said. “I vomited most of the pills up and now I feel miserable. Can you send a cab quick?” I managed to remain calm and said, “Certainly sir. Anything else I can do for you?” I ended up talking to this guy for 15 minutes before the cab pulled up. The driver carried the guy out to his car and took him to the hospital.
He told me his life story and why he tried to end it. I visited him in the hospital as soon as my shift was over. He still calls for a cab every day to take him to a BBQ restaurant.
50. Teddy Bear Tantrum
My husband used to work as a dispatcher before he was old enough to go to the training academy. We lived in a small town, ranked third most dangerous in our state, but that didn’t mean that it was all bad. We had more than our fair share of funny vs. tragic or dangerous calls. It was nice to have that kind of humor with the number of serious calls we usually got.
There was a woman in our town who was honestly crazy. I don’t know exactly what her ailment was—or if she just had a very different idea of fun—but she was a regular caller. Some of her calls started out pretty serious, but it became obvious that it was just a hilarious misunderstanding. She called my husband once claiming that she had been attacked.
After my husband managed to coax some information out of her, she said she knew the identity of her attacker. When she revealed who it was, my husband’s eyes widened with utter surprise. It was her stuffed bear. I don’t know if my husband sent officers to the scene or not. You never know about those Teddy bear cuddles.