Emergency dispatchers hear it all: The good, the bad, and the ugly. Wait, maybe not the good. When they’re not guiding people through their worst, most traumatic moments, dispatchers also have the pleasure of dealing with the ridiculous, stupid, and petty. These emergency workers shared their stories on Reddit about the most unforgettable calls they’ve ever dealt with—from the terrifying to the bizarre—and they’re absolutely jaw-dropping.
1. The Elephant In The Room
An old woman called, extremely confused, because she said that there was an elephant in her back garden. I question her but she is insistent that there is a fully grown elephant in her garden. She’s frightened—probably because she thinks there is a giant elephant in her back garden. The immediate assumption is that this woman may have dementia.
An officer is sent to do a welfare check on the poor woman. When he got to her house, she let him inside and took him through to the kitchen to look out into her garden and, yep, there was an elephant, and it was eating her plants. The officer called for backup. Turns out there was a circus relatively nearby and the elephant had escaped overnight.
2. Much Ado About Stuffing
It’s Thanksgiving Day morning and I’ve just started my shift around 5 am. I’m the only one working for the day shift and settle in for what should be a mostly peaceful day of hanging out, eating food, playing New Vegas, and relaxing. Then my 9-1-1 line rings. I pick it up and go through the usual run down only to be greeted not by someone with a medical emergency, a fire, misdemeanor in progress, nothing like that.
She needed help with making a turkey. I told her this was an emergency line and she informed me this was an emergency because she had family coming over that night and she had to do Thanksgiving dinner. I apologize to her for her problem but inform her that it’s not an actual emergency, so I need her to clear the line.
And yes, I went through our procedures to check to see if this was a domestic issue or something like that, where the individual couldn’t speak freely. This was not that. She calls back a few minutes later and hangs up upon realizing it is me. She calls back again, gets me, and I inform her that it’s only me working so this won’t work.
Before I can tell her that Law Enforcement will come out to her location next time, she hangs up. I prayed that was the end of it. It was not. About 10 minutes later she calls again pitching a sob story about her Thanksgiving being ruined and needing help to salvage it for her family. I let her know law enforcement is on their way, she tries to call it like I’m bluffing until I read back her address. So, she hangs up.
Law Enforcement arrives and she plays dumb like she has no idea why they are there, but everything is recorded and we’ve had her number and address ping with every call. She gets a verbal warning and then they leave, only for her to call me back to chew me out for sending officers to her home and scaring her kids. She wants to talk to my supervisor to file a complaint.
Shockingly, this didn’t get her very far, but it did get law enforcement back out to her place to actually issue her a citation for misusing 9-1-1 and tying up the lines. Monday morning, she called 9-1-1 again to complain about me and again got another citation.
3. 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.
4. Demon Slayer
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, except that it definitely involved 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 an emergency number, it wasn’t unheard of. To a certain extent, I can understand the thought process and people have certainly called it for less. After a bit more talking, however, I realized that he had not called about a plumbing issue. It wasn’t water that was coming out of his toilet, but demons.
The demons were spilling out of his toilet and he needed help. I put in a complaint for law enforcement and kept him on the phone. It was a busy evening and the officers wouldn’t be able to get to him for a few minutes, so I asked if he could close the toilet lid. He said he could and he did. I asked him if this stopped the demons from coming out of his toilet and he told me it did. This made him calmer and I was able to release the call.
5. Behind Closed Doors
A 14-year-old girl called law enforcement about a disturbance. Officers showed up and everything seemed average. Parents advise the reporting party was upset because she wasn’t allowed to go out with her boyfriend. Officers were getting ready to leave after being there for 40 minutes—but they started to get a really bad feeling about the whole situation.
The two officers took the 14-year-old outside and near their patrol units to speak to her. While they were walking outside the girl’s mother, stepfather and two sisters go and stand on the porch to see if they can see what is going on. They were unable to hear due to the officers and girl being on the other side of the street.
It was then that the stepfather started pacing and went inside. The girl broke down and told the officers that her stepdad had been assaulting her for years and he didn’t want her to go see her boyfriend because he was jealous. The officers looked up at that moment—but they were too late to stop what was coming. They had to watch as the stepfather shot the mother in the back of the head.
He proceeded to shoot the reporting party’s older sister in the chest and her younger sister in the leg as they started running away. One officer returned fire while the other was shielding the reporting party. The stepfather ran inside the house and barricaded himself. The reporting party told the officer that her two brothers were inside with the stepfather.
Backup arrived and surrounded the home. The officers made a forced entry after they heard gunfire from inside. They stormed the residence and found the stepfather deceased with his two biological sons in the same room. The mother and older sister passed away instantly, and the younger sister was hospitalized. It took hours to get in contact with any other family. Eventually, we were able to get in touch with her grandparents and she left with them.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Newbie Nightmare
I was a student paramedic when we had a call broadcast over the radio. I was chilling with my mentor in a two-man ambulance. The operator who was broadcasting said something along the lines of: “Female, reportedly unconscious, law enforcement on scene, major trauma (pause)… CPR in progress, confirmed arrest by officers on scene.”
My mentor looked at me. We were off in 30 mins, but we went anyway. We were just around the corner, so we made it there in no time at all. There are officers EVERYWHERE; at least seven squad cars. I was nervous as heck, and so was my mentor. As we approached the house, a man emerged, in handcuffs. He looked content enough and smiled at us as we walked by. That freaked me out—but I wasn’t prepared for the scene we were about to enter.
Officers shout for us to hurry, we run over with equipment to the front door and are met with one of the worst scenes I’ve ever seen and will always be there in my mind. A woman was lying on the ground, with the left side of her head caved in, blood all over the place and brain matter scattered around the floor too. Officers were doing CPR, we stopped them when we saw the patient had signs of pooling and rigor mortis.
I was literally sweating and on the verge of tears. Then, from behind us, we heard more officers in the house and the sounds of children. Two children were escorted out of a bedroom behind us with their eyes covered. I’ve never been traumatized by a job, but those kids being shielded from what just happened to their mother will stick with me forever.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. Not Another Child Bride
It was one of my first calls. I had a young girl call to say that she was about to run away because she was being encouraged into an arranged marriage and she felt she couldn’t say no to her family. She asked that when she runs away we don’t look for her, no matter who calls up to say that she’s missing. It stumped me.
No matter how much training you go through or role-plays you enact, you can never be fully prepared for what may come in and this was a scenario I hadn’t even thought about before. I managed to calm the girl down and go over the differences between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage. I explained to her that forced marriage was not allowed and had protections available.
Not to mention, everyone should have the right to choose who to marry, and when or if they want to marry. I had to explain that we couldn’t ignore a report of a missing person if it came in, and then made her aware of the various supports available to her, and the charities that specialize in these circumstances so that she didn’t feel she had to go through this alone. I haven’t been able to shake that feeling since.
12. Broken WINDow
I was a dispatcher for a residential alarm company similar to ADT. I would call people when their alarm was tripped and ask them if they were okay. One day I received a signal from a residence’s bathroom window glass break sensor. When I called the lady was laughing so hard she could barely give me her safety password. As it turned out she was cleaning her bathroom and when she bent over she broke wind so hard and loud that it set off the sensor on the bathroom window.
13. A Grandmother’s Devotion
An older lady, I want to say maybe in her early 70s, calls in with a sort of polite urgency in her voice, and tells me she thinks she’s having a stroke. She tells me she has her grandchild at the house with her and asks me to call her daughter to come to get the child. By the time she’s done giving me the phone number, there’s just a very slight slur in her speech.
By the time EMS got there (probably no more than 5 minutes or so) I couldn’t understand a thing she was saying. It was disturbing and profoundly sad hearing someone having a stroke on the phone as they’re talking to you.
14. 9-1-1 Is Not A J-O-K-E
I took a call from a kid who was about 10 years old who thought it would be funny to prank call emergency services. He started off by saying there was a fire. I could hear him giggling in the background. He followed that up by meowing at me over the phone. I managed to get a good location off the call and got his address. I read the address to him and asked if that was where he lived.
CLICK. I had a deputy go out to the house, as was our policy, and explained the situation to his parents. The Deputy told me later that the kid got the chewing out of a lifetime.
15. Silence Of The Line
A 90-year-old woman called up and said she was having some trouble. She was struggling to work the phone and told me she basically had a leg ulcer that had popped and that she’s on blood thinners so there was a lot of blood coming out. I dispatched an ambulance out there immediately to her, but midway through the call went silent. The next sound made my stomach drop: I heard a big thud on the floor.
I tried my best to shout on the phone to get her attention. All I could hear was very heavy breathing, but there was no reply. This continued for a couple of minutes before I could hear banging on the other end of the line, and a voice faintly shouting the lady’s name. I kept trying to rouse her myself, but I was unsuccessful. I heard the window break and a couple of voices approaching.
They finally reached her and thankfully I heard her very faint voice respond. Normally we don’t find out what happens but in this case, I actually received a letter and chocolates from the caller and she told me that she could hear me the whole time and felt reassured that help was coming, but she didn’t have the strength to reply.
16. A Flood Of Emotions
It was about 5 a.m. and there was local flooding in the area. I had already taken multiple calls from people trapped in the floodwaters, but all of them were able to get to safety. My next incoming call was similar but the water was rushing much faster over the road. I am onto pre-arrival instructions, telling the caller to climb out of the window and onto the windshield.
The caller then tells me that she’s 400+ pounds and so is her husband in the passenger seat of a vehicle. There were no other options but to stay in the car and wait for responders. The caller is constantly asking me if they were going to die, and what they should do. The fear in her voice each time she talks got higher.
While waiting for responders the water was now coming in the car and filling part of the floorboards. Deputies who were waiting on the edge of the water key up on the radio and say the car is starting to move with the water. Just before, I could hear the caller scream. Finally, a few minutes later the fire department arrived at the car with the caller. Luckily the firefighters were able to get both people to safety.
17. Pregnant Pause
I answered phones for a rural Florida labor room, on the night shift. Most of our local doctors did not take phone calls from their patients, but rather would advise them to call the hospital if they had any after-hours concerns about their pregnancy. It was never boring. One of the more memorable patient calls was a young lady about 24 weeks pregnant.
She had heard that practicing Kegel exercises would help assist with an easier delivery, so she purchased Ben Wa balls and inserted them in her vagina. The issue was that she could not retrieve one of them, it was stuck, and she was scared. We asked if she had a partner available that may be able to help extract the lodged ball, and she responded that her boyfriend was getting home from work in 15 minutes, but she wasn’t concerned about his ability to assist.
Her concern was that the ball would get up into her uterus prior to his getting home, and we stuck in there with the baby. We had to have a discussion about anatomy, and I advised in the future to practice Kegels without extra instruments.
18. Looking For A Way Out
My mother was an emergency operator for many years. My siblings and I have heard about this one call on multiple occasions. A 15-year-old girl had been kidnapped. He had taken her clothes and threatened to kill her if she left. She was trapped in a basement with a guy with a knife. He had fallen asleep, and the girl managed to get a phone and call for help.
My mother answered the call and essentially walked this girl through getting help. My mother suggested the girl break the basement window and make a run for it. But the basement was equipped with those blocked glass windows so that wouldn’t work. All of this was done by whispering as the offender was in the room, for 30 mins to an hour.
Then my mother thought up a desperate plan. She convinced the girl to take the knife and try breaking the lock at the top of the stairs. You get a two-block radius off of cell phones when in use, and so they sent squad cars up and down the blocks. Luckily, the girl remembered the car he drove. They were looking for a small two-door blue car he left parked in an alley.
It all came down to my mother and a few other dispatchers carting around squad cars and having them blare their lights in a general area until the girl could see them and the officers could zone into her exact location. The girl managed to get out through the basement’s back door and went running in the offender’s shorts.
19. Lions And Tigers And Bears, Oh My!
I work in a moderately sized suburb. While it is rapidly expanding, LOTS of people don’t realize how much wildlife is sharing their neighborhood. I took a 9-1-1 call from a gentleman that stated he has lion cubs in his backyard. There was a larger one and two babies and they had stripes. He also made a point to tell me that he didn’t know HOW they had gotten into his backyard because he has a six-foot privacy fence…
Now, many people also don’t know that bobcat kittens have stripes that fade as they age. He has a bobcat momma and kittens in his backyard. My agency doesn’t send anyone, law enforcement or animal control, if wildlife is outside doing wildlife things. Then he uttered the phrase all dispatchers know: “But I have kids!” (It never fails, no matter the call: WhAt AbOuT tHe cHiLdReN?!?!)
The caller eventually watched momma lead her kittens from the yard through a loose panel in his fence. Out next 9-1-1 call was from the neighbor because “a bobcat with kittens is chasing a rabbit in my front yard.”
20. Just Another Saturday Night With Grandma
I had been dispatching for a combined center that services eight rural counties for two years, and in that time I have about a half dozen calls that I’ll carry to the grave. My most memorable call was on a Saturday night from one of our BFE counties. An older southern grandma and her family had just arrived home from a dinner out in the city.
They found a box standing in front of their door, connected to the doorknob by electrical cords, and it was TICKING. I couldn’t remember all of the codes, so after I had gotten all of her information and call type, I picked up my cheat sheet trying to figure out how to code a possible explosive (It’s a 10-89, for future reference).
As I’m scanning my code sheet, the grandma pipes back up, “It’s okay, they’re gonna kick it off the porch.” This does not register for a second, and the first words out of my mouth are “Wait…what?” Followed almost immediately by “NONONONONONONOhfhgfghh?!?!?!” “Oh it’s ok, it was just some electrical cords.” I’m extra grateful they didn’t get blown up.
21. Maybe Don’t Phone A Friend
Eight or nine years ago, my husband and I invited a couple of acquaintances over for dinner one night. They were from our local poker group. The four of us were having a great time together when one of the guys accidentally knocked over the other guy’s phone and cracked its screen. The second guy went absolutely mental.
He started yelling at the first guy and demanded that he pay to repair the screen. The second guy immediately agreed but the first guy kept yelling and yelling. He called 9-1-1 and some officers came. He told them that the second guy broke his phone and he wanted to file a report. He asked them to force the second guy to give him money to repair his phone.
The officers were so confused and annoyed. We were mortified because it happened at our house and the officers knew our landlord. We never invited him to our house again.
22. The Naked Truth
I used to do overnight security, and have had to call 9-1-1 several times. My favorite was a gentleman who was obviously on something…jittery; touching his face a lot and couldn’t sit still. He tried to break into a house next to our campus. So I dialed right then. As I’m giving them a description of what he is wearing, he starts stripping his clothes off, running across our campus.
I have to tell the emergency operator, “Yeah, he is naked in the middle of the street, laying down. I think he’s doing the worm.” We lost the guy on camera, no clue where he was. Five squad cars showed up rounded up the only guy in our area with no shoes or a shirt. We went outside to give a statement to the officers. The guy is trying to convince them that he is the one who called them to report someone stealing his shoes.
They don’t buy it for a second, but they let him go. He runs off into the night. Barefoot, no shirt.
23. World’s Worst Neighbor
I once had law enforcement called on me by my neighbor. He called because there was a car parked on the street by his backyard. It wasn’t blocking the parking space in front of his house, nor was it on his property, nor was it inconveniencing him in any way. It also was not my car nor the car of anybody I know. Oh, but it gets worse. Same neighbor called law enforcement on me for animal brutality.
My dog was in my fenced in backyard with a bowl of food and a bucket of water in the shade. He told them that I chained him up all day and night with no food. I showed the officers my pup and was just like, why would I chain up a dog in a fenced in yard? Same neighbor called law enforcement on me for “verbal assault” when he knocked on my door and said it was against the law to leave my trash can by the road a day after pick up and I told him to screw off and closed the door.
And do you want to know the weirdest part? I never did anything to the guy to get him to start this and from what I asked the other neighbors he didn’t do that to them.
24. A Tragic Loss
Around 7 a.m. a male called and said his wife was non-responsive and had difficulty breathing after her night shift at the waffle house. I dispatch in northern Kentucky, so an opioid overdose is suspected and probable. The caller was defensive and didn’t want to answer questions. I heard him talking to his young daughter in the background.
The squad got there, confirmed an overdose. Two doses of Narcan revived her, and they transported her to the hospital. Basically the most ‘normal’ and best outcome overdose call I could deal with. Around 1 p.m. the same day, I got a call from a very scared, but as calm as can be, young girl. I answered the phone. “Where is your emergency?” I asked. Her answer broke my heart.
The young girl whimpered, “Daddy did what mommy did.” I didn’t get it at first. I had probably taken 3-4 more overdoses that morning, so it didn’t click. She told me he was breathing a little, but couldn’t tell me her address. I couldn’t send anyone to her without knowing where she was. I had to take a moment and think.
I remembered my trainer saying something about getting a license plate from outside if a child, or maybe a diabetic patient, calls and is not able to give an accurate address. Got the plate, got the registered owner’s address, and then it clicked. This child had to witness both of her parents overdosing at the age of about seven.
25. You’re Getting Sleepy…
A female in her 40s called 9-1-1 and starts the call by saying that she “doesn’t really believe in this sort of thing, but…” She goes on to tell me that her mother had recently passed on and she inherited a large sum of money. She then decided to visit a psychic, which of course she doesn’t really believe in, but paid money to go see her anyway.
This “psychic” goes on to tell this poor woman that her mother was stuck between worlds and couldn’t get into heaven. And wouldn’t you know it, giving more money to the psychic was the only way to get her into heaven! How convenient! Instead of telling the obvious scam artist to get lost, she actually gives the money to her in four separate payments. For a grand total of $105,000!
And now the psychic has stopped taking her phone calls and has left the state—it’s amazing what people will fall for.
26. A Cold, Cruel Night
At about 10 p.m. on a Friday, an officer radioed in about a car that had pulled off on a mountain road at an overlook. The temperature was just above freezing and it was sleeting/snowing heavily. The area where the car was is well known for being a place where people party. It is about a mile outside of town on the other side of the river, and rather secluded.
The cop says he is going to turn around and make contact with the car. As he pulled up to the spot where the car he noticed was, it was gone. We then got a call for an accident just a 1/4 mile up the road from where he was. The car went off the road over the bank and into the river. The passenger had somehow managed to get out of the car and swim to shore.
Her one-year-old son and fiancée were nowhere to be found. The car was submerged by the time the officer had gotten there. The officer was absolutely shaken, and his voice over the radio was broken. Knowing there was absolutely nothing he could do. Fire Departments from all over the county searched up and down the swollen river and never found the car, the child, or the fiancé.
Rescuers were fighting to keep their boats right side up on the fast and high river. They didn’t find the car until the next afternoon with divers. The father and son were still strapped in their seats. The survivor said he was going way too fast and trying to outrun the officer that had passed them. The reason being, he had a suspended license.
27. Don’t Mess With The Cooks
A woman called 9-1-1 right as she drove into the county I worked for. She was screaming about how the Burger King employees in our county need to be locked up because they threw a milkshake at her. I ask her some clarifying questions. Then I ask her if she’s sure this took place in our county, because we don’t have a Burger King in that area, but the neighboring county does.
She called me an idiot and told me to “just send the coppers.” I come to find out, she ordered her food at Burger King but then didn’t want it because she didn’t know “there were a bunch of dumb black folks working there.” The manager of the joint threw the lady’s milkshake right at her through her car window.
Another one, a very pregnant lady called 9-1-1 because the restaurant she ordered from got her order wrong and wouldn’t refund her. She sobbed to me about how she’s pregnant and she just wanted this certain dish. She threw the order of food at the worker, who placed his own 9-1-1 call for assault. That probably didn’t work out in her favor.
28. A Walk In The Park
I had taken a call pretty late one night from a man who was walking in a sketchy park in the city. He was approached by a few males who pulled a knife on him. He was then cornered into a porta-potty. The caller told me that he was locked inside when he heard one of the males say, “let’s knock it over.” The porta-potty was knocked over with the door facing the ground so he was unable to get out.
He was from out of state and did not know where he was, so it took a lot of time to figure out exactly where his location was. He could see out of cracks in the door to give me enough information about what he could see, which luckily I was very familiar with. I stayed on the line for probably 30 minutes until officers located him. I can only imagine how horrible those 30 minutes were for him.
29. Them Bones, Them Fried Bones
I’m not an operator, but my mom once called 9-1-1 for a completely ridiculous reason. I had just moved out at the tender age of 19 and was living halfway across the States from my parents’ home. I was eating some fried chicken with my then-boyfriend when all of a sudden, a piece of sharp bone broke off and went down my throat.
I was rather sheltered and had high anxiety. I was at least 80% sure this was fatal, but I had no money and no insurance, so of course, I wasn’t about to put myself into life-crippling debt over the 20% chance that it wasn’t. So, who did I call? My mom, of course. I don’t know why, she didn’t know a lot of things, but I just needed my mom.
Anyway, neither of us knew, but I thought that we had determined that it was most likely going to be okay and that was that. NOPE. I got a call 15 minutes or so later from someone wanting to see if I was okay. It was about 12 years ago, so I don’t remember exactly who called, but it turned out that my mom called 9-1-1 after hanging up the phone.
That’s right, she called her local emergency line about her daughter who swallowed a chicken bone (but was otherwise okay) in an entirely different state. I was so embarrassed, but looking back I guess it was really cute? She has passed on since then, but I remember the story fondly.
30. Trapped With Nowhere To Go
I was the Shift Supervisor at the time and was only supposed to answer overflow calls. I took in a call on July 4th around 9 p.m. I figured it was just another fireworks complaint or something easy, as that’s what most calls on the 4th of July are. I speak with an elderly lady who tells me her house is on fire and she is trapped on the 3rd floor.
Already, my heart was in my throat. I tried to remain calm so I could try and calm this person down as much as possible. My partner, who was the other shift supervisor, instantly took control of the dispatch operations. Once the rest of the room caught wind I was on a hot call, they quieted down so that my partner and I could communicate.
In the meantime, while he was getting the fire service dispatched, I was doing everything in my power to make sure the lady kept talking to me. I ascertained as many details about the room and how to get there as I could. I had her try opening the window because at this point the room was filling with smoke. The few minutes it took for the fire department to get there felt like an eternity.
It really felt like time stopped. Once the fire department arrived they pulled up and found the house was only two stories tall, even though the lady said she was on the 3rd floor. As the fire department began making their entry, the woman collapsed. At this point, I’m not sure if she was gonna make it. After a few seconds of not hearing from her, I finally heard the firefighter’s SCBA.
I broke down in tears. The firefighters were able to rescue her. She survived and of this writing, she was still living despite having suffered 3rd-degree burns on 70% of her body. In the eight years I have been working as an emergency services operator, this was the call that broke me mentally.
31. Be A Listener
When I was in college studying Police Foundations, 90% of my professors were retired or still-serving officers. One of the instructors was telling us about an older lady whose husband had recently passed on. She was dialing 9-1-1 every day because she was lonely and wanted an officer to come and keep her company.
They had tried explaining to her that 9-1-1 was for emergencies only, but she couldn’t help it. To her, she was alone and wanted to have someone with her, so it seemed like an emergency. Eventually, my professor was the one to respond to the call. So, he went to her house and sat with her. She made tea and put out some cookies and they sat and talked until he had a call. In his eyes it was public service.
He made a deal with her. If she agreed to stop calling for this reason, he would go to her house and have tea and cookies once every rotation of shifts (about once a week). She never called 9-1-1 for that reason, and every week he’d stop by and have tea and cookies until she passed on a few years later. He finished the story saying something like this: “We should never forget that although law enforcement is a big part of our job, public service comes in many forms.”
32. The Cupboard Is Not Bare
I was training a paramedic to answer calls and this eerie dude called. There was a lot of heavy breathing and weird metal sounds clicking in the background. He told us he had serious bleeding but would not specify from where or what. My paramedic trainee whispered to me that his paramedic friends were going to this job. He whispered it in a happy not concerned voice, but I was FREAKING out. I had chills.
The caller said stuff like, “Please don’t turn the ambulance lights on and park around the back because I don’t want anyone to know you’re here,” and “I’m upstairs and the door is unlocked and sorry that no lights in my house work.” We radioed the crew and told them not to go in and that law enforcement had been dispatched and to wait until they arrived.
Of course, we stayed on the line with the heavy breathing guy who said he was in the upstairs cupboard waiting. Next thing I knew I heard the paramedics’ voices call out, “Where are you?” Law enforcement was still 15 mins away. My heart jumped into my throat—I totally thought they were done for! We were all silent and the caller was breathing heavily and not responding.
Then I hear, “There you are! I found you! You were in the cupboard! How can I help? Oh here let me help you hang up the phone.” The paramedics were fine but the man was sitting in the closet with a weapon and bullets. He had cut his scrotum open and was stuffing it full of tissues—to stop the bleeding I guess.
33. This Is No Pajama Party
“County 9-1-1, where’s your emergency?” “My neighbor is mowing his yard in pajamas. And I don’t think that’s very necessary.” “Excuse me…? Ma’am, is he threatening you or harming you?” “No, but he’s nearly naked in his yard. Can you get a cop here to tell him to put clothes on?” “How about I let an officer give you a call about it, Ma’am?”
“Sure, that’ll be fine! I’m tired of seeing old shirtless men mowing their yards early morning. My number is blah blah blah.” “Okay, I’ll give this to the officer directly…” She hangs up. Me on the radio: “County 9-1-1 to North County”, “939, go ahead.” “I have some telephone traffic regarding a shirtless old man mowing his yard, subject is requesting you to give her a call.” I hear a sensible laugh over radio, “Sure thing, I’m ready to copy.” I give him her number.
Five minutes later; “939 to County 9-1-1,” “Go ahead.” “It’s gonna be a civil matter, she told me she’s going to start mowing her yard naked. I’ll be 10-8.” Me, in tears of laughter: “10-4 14:32.” Our Computer Aided Dispatch is being updated and this happened when I couldn’t send texts over the software itself, otherwise I would’ve just thrown the comment in the narrative and he could’ve read it. Fun times.
34. Hit the Deck!
I took a call for an overdose. A male, in his 20s, had gone into cardiac arrest. His girlfriend and his buddy call. They are very compliant, after a little distress, the girlfriend gets right into doing CPR, listening to my instructions. I see on my screen the ambulance has arrived, and I’m calmly starting to prepare her for them coming in.
Minutes pass, and no one has entered the house. I’m used to a little delay, but this is unusual. I’m about to flag my supervisor, but she’s on her way over from dispatch. “Hey, can you ask the caller to tell her friends to stop throwing deck chairs, our guys can’t get in until they do?” Apparently, this was house wasn’t exactly fond of law enforcement.
There were several others standing up on the first-floor balcony, throwing deck chairs. I told the girlfriend, “Hey, can you ask your friends to stop throwing deck chairs, we can’t get our officers in while they’re doing that, and we might have to call in law enforcement.” The phone drops and I can hear her yelling in the background.
Stuff was being thrown, and I was trying to get some attention back because I think CPR has stopped. Finally, there’s quiet, and I can hear the paramedics enter the house, and take control. I ended the call. I checked in with the crew later and they told me the guys thought the paramedics were there to take their things, and they needed to defend their territory with deck chairs.
It’s always left me wondering how many darn deck chairs did they have?
35. Where Am I On The Map?
I’m not a 9-1-1 operator, but I do mapping for 9-1-1. An operator had a call once from someone that was extremely concerned that emergency services wouldn’t be able to find his house if he ever needed them. Not a reason to call the emergency number, but still a valid concern. The call gets kicked over to me and I’m on the phone with him going through a checklist to verify the location of his address.
I ask him a few times what prompted his concerns about emergency services not being able to find his house and he just mumbles something like, “I just know they won’t.” I eventually get things worked out, I make sure his address is in our system and in the correct location, and I assure him that we will be able to find his house. I was absolutely not prepared for his bizarre response.
There are a few seconds of silence on his end, then he says, “Well if the government know where I live and can get here, why the heck couldn’t Pizza Hut find my house last night?!” He hung up before I could say anything.
36. Without Warning
I was on my second full-time shift, it was about 11 p.m. on a Thursday. We got a call from a female, screaming, just screaming. That’s all we heard. We lost the connection. We got a second call from the neighbor across the street: “I think I just heard a shot and now our neighbor is screaming, yelling for help. I think something terrible happened.”
While my partner was getting more info from caller #2 when the phone rings again and it is the original caller. She’s still screaming but is trying to speak, even though I can’t understand anything she’s saying. After a couple of very stern “MA’AM, I need you to calm down and tell me what is going on,” she’s finally able to tell me that she thinks her husband just took his life.
She went on to explain that they were watching a TV show together, everything seemed normal when he got up and said that he would be right back. She heard the back deck door open and close and then she heard a shot. She ran to the door and just saw his feet and legs lying down on the deck. She called initially but was unable to control herself and accidentally hung up.
She was still a complete disaster when I talked to her, but I was able to get the basics of what happened and relay the information to responding officers. She kept telling me that she needed to go outside and help him. My only job at that point was to try and keep her calm and keep her from getting up from the corner of the kitchen floor.
That is where she had collapsed. Officers finally arrived and secured the weapon. The couple had been married 27 years, had two kids, and had three grandkids. She had no indication that anything was wrong. I don’t remember her name, but I will never be able to forget her screams.
37. Birds Do It, Bees Do It
Just got this call a few days. I’m a state dispatcher, so I also dispatch for my state’s department of game and fish. A woman was calling claiming that she was in a car crash because of the turkeys. Since I’m a pretty fresh dispatcher, I don’t have all parts of the state memorized, so I got more information. It turns out it’s *ahem* rutting season for turkeys.
The lady said there were “turkeys rutting all over the place.” In the roads. In the trees. On top of cars. Attacking people. Everywhere. The caller stated that she was driving, and she saw a turkey finish rutting, and it jumped straight into her car, causing damage. I sent a Game and Fish officer to take the report, and the officer stated this at the end:
“Clear me with a supplemental report. The reporting party wanted us to do something about the turkeys. I informed her that it’s rutting season and turkeys are going to rut.” Pretty funny call for a fresh dispatcher.
38. Father-Son Time Gone Too Soon
I was a dispatcher for about four years in a rural county. The worst call I got was a hunting accident. A guy took his six-year-old son out hunting with him and gave the kid a loaded weapon to carry with him. The kid, while trying to get through tamarack bushes, grabbed the weapon by the barrel and dragged it behind him.
The weapon got caught on a branch and discharged into the kid’s head. The father called 9-1-1 and didn’t know where he was, as he wasn’t familiar with the area and it wasn’t his land. All he could tell me was that they had passed a lake or pond on a dirt road. There are several dirt roads with ponds, and I was able to narrow it down to six roads with the location data from the cell towers.
At the time, triangulation in rural areas stunk. I dispatched every deputy I had on duty (all two of them), the one city cop I had on duty, and both our ambulances and fire trucks to the area. The State Patrol also assisted with the search. It took us over 20 minutes to find them, and the whole time the father wept uncontrollably screaming “please don’t be dead” over and over again.
I gave him instructions from the flip chart to check the boy’s vitals, try to stop the bleeding, etc. My instructions only lasted about five minutes, and I had given him all the info I was trained to give. The remaining 15 felt like an eternity. From what the father told me and what I was told by the deputies after, the boy was pretty much gone immediately after the accident.
The EMTs still went through with their routines and loaded him into the ambulance because none of them felt comfortable doing otherwise In the situation. This was my first shift back after the birth of my son, so I think that’s why it sticks with me.
39. Urine Trouble
I’m not dispatch, but EMT. This was the pettiest call we ever had. My partner and I show up in the morning to find out we have a trainee on our shift. It’s his first rideout during his EMS school. Cool. Nice kid. About two hours later, we get paged out for “Prostate problems. No further information.” All right. Sounds like fun. We show up at an assisted care facility (not full nursing home, think more apartments that have a nurse on staff).
We make contact with the patient; I send the student to do vitals while I start questioning him. Is he having pain? Discomfort? More urine output? Less urine output? Funny feelings on urination? Discharges? Anything? All negative. Finally, I tell him I need some help. Why does he think he is having prostate problems? Well, it’s Saturday morning.
And he just watched a medical show that mentioned that it’s important that men his age get their prostate checked once a year. And it had been about 15 months since he had a prostate exam. And he called his primary care physician and couldn’t get an appointment until Monday morning. I was completely stunned. In over five years of EMS, this is one of like three patients that I ever tried to talk OUT OF going to the hospital.
But he wanted transport, so we gave it to him. We radio the hospital ahead when bringing in a patient. This is the only time I ever said, in front of the patient, “I’m sorry for what I am about to tell you.” We get to the hospital, and as we are moving the patient into a bed, this older male nurse storms into the room and starts laying into me. Why? He thought I was joking when I called in the report.
When I assured him that it was legit, he turned to the patient. I can’t remember his exact words, but it was something like this: “You actually called a freaking ambulance to bring your sorry butt into the EMERGENCY ROOM for a PROSTATE EXAM that you couldn’t wait two days for?!!?!!?” The patient looked shocked, but nodded. The nurse turned to the tech that had entered the room.
“Get this idiot a prostate exam and get him the heck out of my ER!” he then slammed the clipboard he was holding down on the counter. As we were cleaning the ambulance, my trainee looked at me. “Is it always like this?” he asked, hope dying in his eyes. I clapped him on the shoulder and said, “Welcome to EMS.”
40. An Early Arrival
There was a woman who called and was about to imminently deliver twins prematurely at 27 weeks. She had delivered the one into the toilet. The second baby hadn’t been delivered yet. I had to tell her how to give CPR to her baby. However, she couldn’t get it flat on the floor as the umbilical cord was being stretched. I managed to get her to saddle the toilet with the lid down.
I had her place the baby between her legs and perform compressions. She lived in a remote area and it took 40 mins for help to get there, which had to have been a record for the distance and conditions they traveled. She kept saying that she told the father to go to work. She told me that he works away from home for weeks at a time and can’t be contacted.
He wouldn’t find out about what had happened for a couple of days. The woman required blood en route, but made it thankfully.
41. “But I Was First!”
I once answered a call from a man about a noise complaint. It was pretty standard stuff at first. But then, all of the sudden, a priority call came out and the unit on the way to the noise complaint was pulled off to respond to the burglary in progress (i.e. the bad guys were still there, the team needed to act immediately).
About ten minutes later, we get a call from the same guy ranting and raving about why we aren’t there yet. I tell him that it’s because a higher priority event has occurred which needed multiple deputies to respond. He says he doesn’t give a hoot about that, and that his call should be responded to first because he called first.
He then proceeds to call back every five minutes for the next 30 minutes or so until our watch commander that night keys up on the channel to say she’ll be on route to the noise complaint. About five minutes after she arrives on scene, she keys up again with one in custody for misuse of 9-1-1. He was released with a notice to appear, but no custody.
42. Oh Deer
My grandfather was an emergency services operator. He received a call from a man on the side of the road. The man was asking all these questions about roadkill and what to do if you hit an animal. My grandfather politely tells him to call animal control or wildlife, fish and game (depending on the animal and if it’s dead or not), but the man seems frazzled.
My grandfather is a no-nonsense guy and says, “Spit it out already.” The man replies, “Well I’m asking if I hit a deer with my car…can I take it home to eat it?” My grandfather took a moment. Technically no the man couldn’t, it has to be reported to the wildlife office, but he also understood that times were tough.
My grandfather asked the man if he had already loaded the animal into his vehicle, to which the man responded, “Uh yeah.” My grandfather asked, “And you’re sure it’s a goner?” There was a long silence as the man shuffled to check. My grandfather heard some distant screaming and swearing, a loud commotion, and then silence.
The man suddenly came back and asked, “Could you send an ambulance to my location? The buck dug an antler into my shoulder and got away.”
43. He Immediately Noticed A Vas Deferens
I was working in Dispatch when a call came in from an adult male who very slowly, methodically, and painfully explained that he had just recently been circumcised. Apparently, he and his girlfriend/wife were fooling around earlier than the doctor had recommended, and suddenly his member began to swell and swell and swell.
“It’s like…the size of a football, ma’am!” He said that. I’m totally serious. The call-taker, to her credit, kept her composure (unlike the rest of us in the room now listening in). She finally started to crack, so she put the call on hold and dispatched the call. 9-1-1 records everything as soon as you push the last “1,” so we went back to listen to what happened when it was on hold…
“Baby, no! No, we can’t finish! It HURTS!!” Some persistent badgering is coming from a female voice… “BABY, did you not see this?? The head of my thing looks like a FOOTBALL!” This was definitely one of my most memorable calls. While I’m sure it was absolutely traumatic for the poor guy, it was nice to have a legit near comical call as one to keep in the memory bank.
44. 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.
45. Terrifying Beasts
I once had a grown man call in about “a monster trying to get into his son’s room.” He was just the right kind of frantic where I KNEW it wasn’t some kind of a mental health crisis, but I still couldn’t figure it out. Well, he was a Middle Eastern male with a really thick accent, and I was having a hard time understanding him, so he gave the phone to his son.
The monster had climbed a tree and was at his bedroom window. It was as big as his dog, and it had hands like his, but tinier…Wait, what? Then suddenly, it dawned on me. Right there, I told the kid to go see if the “monster” had rings on his tail—sure enough, it did. They had just moved to America a month ago and had never heard of raccoons. I couldn’t mute myself fast enough, and the father heard me laughing. I think that’s what helped calm him down.
I explained what a trash panda was and welcomed him to our wild jungle.
46. 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.
47. Thanks, Son
I was an emergency operator before becoming a paramedic. I had a lot of funny calls, but my favorite by far involved the all-too-common problem of a kid getting a hold of a locked cell phone and only being able to dial 9-1-1. It was Father’s Day, and this particular kid, who was about five years old, called in at least six times, but he’d never stay on the line long enough for us to get a good location “ping” on his cell phone.
It was probably about 10 PM local at the time, not early in the night, but not too late either. Long story short, we were finally able to get him to stay on the phone long enough to trace the call by talking about how his teddy bear was “sick.” We asked to speak to his parents, but he told us that they were in bed and the door was locked. So, we asked him to go knock on the door, and he then told us he was locked in his room.
Okay…We think we know what’s going on now. By this point, we already had an officer en route to this kid’s house to make sure everything was okay and tell his parents their kid had been calling 9-1-1. The officer arrived on the scene, and a few minutes went by before he eventually came over the radio and said, “S120 back in service, the teddy bear is 10-4.”
The officer made his way up to the comm center and proceeded to tell us all that the kid’s dad answered the door wearing only his boxer shorts and was more than a little agitated when he found out his son had been calling 9-1-1. Apparently, the dad was getting his Father’s Day “gift” from the mom when the officer showed up.
48. 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.
49. She Nearly Blew It
I briefly worked as an emergency operator. Whenever someone called on the non-emergency line, we always answered the same way: “Blank law enforcement and fire. This is a recorded line. How can I help you?” We got a call on that line, and I answered as usual. A very inebriated-sounding woman then asked me the following question: “Hypothetically speaking, if my boyfriend had a few grams of coke and I called officers to tell them about it, would either of us get into any trouble?”
Um…What? I told her, “Ma’am, you’re calling law enforcement on a recorded line.” “I know,” she replied, “but what does the law say?” So, I said, “I don’t know, ma’am, I’m not an officer. Would you like me to send one?” She answered, “Yes, please.” She gave me her address, and an officer responded. Somehow, neither of them got busted.
That one had me scratching my head.
50. 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.
51. She Really Needed A Hand
This is one of my favorite calls from one of our local crazies. She told me that she needed an ambulance because her hand was stuck in her nether regions, and she couldn’t get it out. She kept telling me, “I didn’t put it there. Someone else did!” The best part was when I asked for her location, and she gave me an intersection instead of an address because she was standing outside on a corner.
In my mind, I was thinking there was no way this woman was standing on a corner in broad daylight, elbow deep in her own lady bits. But the medics called me later and advised that she was, indeed, standing on the corner with her sweatpants around her ankles and her whole hand enveloped inside her. There were also about eight spectators there taking in the show.
I’ve had a lot of fun calls involving this lady. She is one of my favorite frequent fliers.
52. 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.
53. This Will Make You Giggull
I had a guy call 9-1-1 because he was concerned about a seagull he thought was injured in a Chipotle restaurant parking lot. Apparently, while still on the phone with me, he tried to either pick up or check on the bird, at which point the bird began squawking. The guy started freaking out, and I began having trouble telling them both apart.
Then I heard what might have been the sound of wings flapping, followed by a brief silence. That’s when things took a turn. The guy suddenly came back on the line hyperventilating and screaming that he needed an ambulance because he was having a heart attack and that the bird flew off. I wasn’t sure if he was serious, so I got him over to EMS as a precaution.
Upon transferring him and getting EMS on the line, he then got very quiet and said, “I think I’m okay. I’ll call you back later.” He quickly hung up and would not answer on callback. I still wonder about Steven Seagull whenever I drive by a Chipotle.
54. 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.
55. Oh, Deer
I worked for animal control dispatch in a tourist town during my senior year in high school. I got a call from a lady who had called 9-1-1 previously and was told to call our number instead. I picked up the phone to what sounded like a whole car of very panicked people all yelling at once. After asking several times what was wrong, I finally heard someone yell, “A deer! There’s a deer in somebody’s yard. Y’all gotta come to pick it up!”
Thinking it was either a dead deer or roadkill, I told them that an animal control officer would come to pick up the body soon. Suddenly, a kid in the background started bawling and saying the officer was gonna kill it! So, I paused for a second before asking, “Is the deer alive? What is it doing?” Someone far away from the phone then yelled, “It’s just sitting there in the yard!”
Oh, boy. I replied, “Yeah, this is Texas. He lives there. Just don’t touch him or get too close, and y’all will be okay.” Literally, not even five minutes later, we got a call from another tourist about a deer 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 wow, I hope it was.
56. 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.
57. Myth Versus Reality
I’ve had to call animal control about a chupacabra that was killing all the chickens in my neighborhood. I had caught a glimpse of it a few days before in my backyard and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Then I saw it walking down the street in broad daylight and was able to catch a picture and confirm that I wasn’t crazy.
They told me they had tons of calls about it and to tell all my neighbors to lock up our chickens, bring in any outside animal food, and that they had live traps set for it all over. Spoiler alert: It was a coyote completely bald from mange and so skinny you would never recognize it. I was glad they already had calls about it. I knew it was not okay, whatever it was, but I had no idea how to describe it aside from el chupacabra.
Thankfully they knew exactly what I was talking about.
58. 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.
59. He Needed A Different Kind Of Welfare Check
Many years ago, I was dispatching for FDNY/EMS, and this man kept calling to say that aliens were stealing his welfare check. So, I sent some officers over to his apartment and stayed on the phone with him, and he said, “You hear that? They are here!” It was the officers banging on his door. I felt bad that I thought it was funny, so I radioed the officers and told them to stop knocking.
I then asked the caller, “Did they stop knocking, sir?” He said, “Yes! What did you do?” I explained to him that he did the right thing in calling me because I had all the answers. I then told him, “Here’s what you have to do,” and I proceeded to instruct him to put aluminum foil on his windows so the aliens would skip over his house.
It turned out that he was getting his check delivered to his son, and the son was paying his father’s bills. So, the next month, the son showed up on the day the check was supposed to arrive at his father’s home to explain that the money was safely sent to him instead, so the caller didn’t have to worry about the aliens getting it. This guy went into therapy after that, of course.
It’s freaky stuff that you have to deal with. I have tons of stories working for the New York City Services for 33 years, but that story stuck with me.
60. 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.
61. Stone Cold
I had a resident call the ACO about a dead animal in his yard. The responder got out there, and it was a typical suburban yard, with mulch edging all the way around the fence and decorative plants here and there. It was very uncluttered, neat, and small. The caller pointed to the “dead animal” and told the responder to take care of it.
She walked over to where he was pointing but didn’t see anything. So, the man called the responder an idiot and told her the dead animal was right in front of her. She picked up a decorative rock, turned around, and asked, “This?” The caller said, “Of course! What are you some kind of moron?!” What the responder did next was gold.
She brought the rock to the caller and told him we’re not allowed to dispose of dead wildlife and that he had to put it in his trash can. Then she laid the rock on the table in front of him. He called her a jerk and slammed the door.
62. 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.
63. 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.”
64. 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.
65. 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.
66. 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.
67. 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.
68. 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.
69. 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.
70. 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.
71. 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.
72. 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.
73. 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.
74. 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.
75. 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.
76. 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.
77. The Unexpected Chase
I had a call come in from a guy who was on a worksite building a house. There was someone harassing his workers, parked out in the front of the site, and rambling on about the end of the world and the apocalypse, etc. This kind of call is fairly standard stuff. It’s usually someone off their meds or on drugs, so no big deal.
I threw all the details, descriptions, plate numbers in the job and sent it to dispatch. I like to keep an eye on the notations that get entered to see what happens. As soon as it was sent through I noticed that the air wing unit, the CIRT team (sorta like SWAT), and about 10 other squad car response units were all assigned the job and en route with lights and sirens.
As it turned out, the guy harassing the workers was wanted for a stabbing the night before and a bunch of other violent offenses. He suffered from psychotic episodes from all his drug use. When officers arrived, he took off in his car and basically rammed his way through and a pursuit ensued. It’s the middle of the afternoon so public safety was a top priority.
None of the units tried anything too dangerous and they just followed with the airwing giving updates. He drove from a northern suburb over a giant bridge into the center of the city and then proceeded to mow down anyone on the footpaths in his car to get away from officers. He ended up claiming the lives of six people, including children, but was eventually captured and sentenced for every single life he took.
78. Please Don’t Fill ‘Er Up
I had a lady call who was sobbing so hard I could barely understand her. I determined it wasn’t a medical issue, but she wasn’t making much sense through the sobbing. I finally got her to calm down a little so that she could relay what the issue was. She said that she was at a full-serve gas station (I didn’t even know those existed anymore).
She told me that the attendant had pumped too much gas into her car, but she had only asked for $20 and they had filled her tank. Then she broke down sobbing again. I asked her if the attendant was being rude or if they were threatening her (because I still couldn’t figure out what the crying was all about). She said, “No, the attendant apologized and they gave me a receipt for the gas.”
“OK,” I said, “Then what is the issue?” She burst into tears again and said that she was afraid they would chase her down if she tried to leave and say that she had stolen the gas. I went over what the attendant said to her again, and that clearly the attendant acknowledged that it was a mistake, so she was free to leave.
She was still sobbing when I said I had to let her go because this was not a matter for us. The very next call I got came in on the non-emergency line and it’s the attendant from the gas station. She’s super worried about the lady having the meltdown over getting at least $20 in free gas. The attendant was pretty sure that the lady wasn’t fit to drive due to all of the tears.
The attendant was just as baffled as I was over the lady’s reaction to free gas.
79. This Call Made My Head Spin
At about 7 a.m., a younger-sounding female calls in. She is house sitting and can hear someone trying to break in through the garage. Our city runs long north to south and the law enforcement department is towards the south side of town. She was at the very north end of the city in a nice neighborhood where nothing ever happens.
Being early morning with nothing going on, most officers are at the station having just come on duty. Everyone starts towards the address, but it’s going to be about 10 minutes. The caller is hiding in a closet and is petrified. I had asked all the questions I could think of at this point and just kept telling her to let me know if she hears anything different.
She can still just hear banging on the door to the garage. Suddenly, during a quiet moment, she yells out, “Oh my God!” After I picked up my heart from the floor I said, “What happened? Tell me.” She said…“I think it’s just the washing machine.” Yeah, it was the spin cycle banging up against the wall.
80. What’s Your Pleasure?
The first time this woman called she sounded normal and asked for an officer that never worked here. She proceeded to have a general conversation about this officer while she progressively got more extreme with her moaning. As it turns out she was pleasuring herself while on the phone. I eventually (and gracefully) ended the conversation.
We traced the number to a woman in Florida, while we were located in Missouri. I still remember her name and voice. The second and third times she called I asked if it was her and she hung up right away.
81. Every Parent’s Nightmare
I took a call from a man whose ~1-year-old daughter fell in the pool while unattended. At the time of the call, she was not breathing, unresponsive, and had no pulse. My partner dispatched out fire and EMS while I was on the phone. I got the child’s mother to start CPR. Fortunately, she was certified and didn’t require very much instruction at all.
I just had to tell her to count her compressions out loud so I could keep up. Before first responders arrived, the baby started breathing again. I had to go take a walk around the block after that one.
82. A Man’s Best Friend
My buddy was a fireman and dispatch had just alerted them of a man having chest pains. They got to the guy’s house, and as soon as they open the door, the dude’s dog runs outside. He shouts, “You let my dog out! Go get my dog! Please!” So my buddy immediately starts chasing the dog. He catches the dog, comes back to the house, and when he walks in the door he sees that the man who was having “chest pains” had actually shot a HOLE IN HIS CHEST while cleaning his firearm.
The caller had shot himself in the chest and when help arrived, he made them chase his dog down before tending to his own life-threatening wound.
83. Granny’s Loaded
I worked for a dispatch company similar to life alert. An older lady in her 90s thought someone was intruding on her property and called law enforcement. However, she had severe dementia and forgot she had called them, so when they rang her door she thought THEY were the intruders. So she hit her wrist button to get in contact with us. Then she got out her weapon.
I called law enforcement (while also talking to her) and literally on the recording, you could hear her taking shots at the officers on the scene. I got my supervisor ASAP and tried to talk her down. The officers and I eventually got her to calm down and stop firing, but apparently, she had missed an officer by just 6 inches.
84. Flattened Tire
I received a call saying a guy was changing a truck tire that had exploded and he is inside a wall now. I asked, “…Sorry, he’s what now?” He replied, “He’s embedded in the wall.” I paused slightly on my end and asked if he was awake and breathing. When the caller replied, “No” to both of those questions, I told him I was going to teach him how to do CPR so we can help the victim.
The caller replied, “I don’t think you understand, he is flattened halfway inside the wall, I don’t think we can help him.” When the crew got there, sure enough, the guy was literally flattened in a crater in the drywall.
85. When Responder Becomes Respondee
I am a paramedic and one day we were called on to the scene for an overdose. We arrived with one officer, and after finding the patient we tried to wake him up. The guy didn’t respond at first, but after a minute or so he awoke with the fury of a hundred bulls. In what seemed to be less than three seconds the patient sprung up—then he went absolutely berserk.
He punched the officer, kicked my partner out the door, and cornered me in the room with a giant knife. I have never hit the panic button on our radios faster in my life.
86. Seen Not Heard
I’ll never forget the time I took in a noise complaint. The caller was complaining that the children in the street were being too loud. Happens all the time, annoying but no big deal. The odd thing was she was calling me through a relay service…for the deaf. This was a younger female who was actually deaf (although I’m not sure to what extent).
We had a lot of history with this caller. We knew exactly who she was based on the address and phone number that came up. She was just grumpy and mad that the kids were playing outside.
87. Lost It To Looters
As a former emergency operator in Brazil, I was used to getting disturbing phone calls. However, oddly enough, the one phone call that I could never forget wasn’t a horrifying or urgent one, it was an old man calmly telling me his house had been broken into. In the saddest voice, I’ve ever heard he said, “I’ve worked my entire life to buy these things, now it’s all gone…I’ve lost everything.”
He started crying on the phone, and my heart broke. This man was quite poor and worked a lot to buy furniture and appliances throughout the years. He was now retired and couldn’t afford to buy these things anymore. I asked the officer who went to his house to get a direct report, and he told me that the old man’s house had been looted clean. He really did lose everything.
88. A Little Girl’s Companion
A little girl, 4 years old at most, called crying and said that Jacky was really hurt and his arm was coming off. Her dad was out and she and Jacky were home alone. The ambulance came expecting someone with serious blood loss, possibly an injured child. Turns out Jacky did need stitches, but he was a teddy bear.
Her recently widowed father had gone to his restaurant where, for the last few weeks there had been a series of false fire alarms. Knowing it would take him 15-20 mins to deal with it, he had told his daughter that Jacky would be there for her and that it wouldn’t take long. This time there was a real fire. The paramedics stitched and bandaged Jacky the teddy bear and waited with her until her father returned. Luckily no one was hurt.
89. Mamma Mia Pizzeria
My favorite call came from two guys who thought they were witnessing a body disposal. They described a naked body covered in blood being thrown into the dumpster. As it turned out, it was only pizza dough and sauce. The restaurant workers were just having a grand old time throwing away the leftover extras.
90. Here’s To 50 Years…
I’ll never forget this one. A 72-year-old female had collapsed in front of her husband and stopped breathing. When I answered the phone he said, “What do I do first? She’s not breathing and I’m by myself!” I told him to run and get the door unlocked and then we can start chest compressions. Halfway through them, his back started hurting.
I told him that I didn’t want him to hurt himself and he told me, “I can’t stop. I love her, we just celebrated 50 years together.” Then he started saying things like, “You can’t leave me. You’re all I have. You can’t die. I love you.” I lost it. I’ve never cried on the phone but I did that day. To my great delight, they got her back. They visited one day and made me cry all over again.
91. As The Tides Turn
A lady had been hiking along the side of a cliff when the path collapsed in front of her and behind her, leaving her stranded while the tide was coming in. I had to stay on the line for almost an hour and a half to keep her mind off the pain that was in her legs, and helping emergency services locate her since she was far from any roads. In the end, law enforcement found her and got her to safety, but it was a crazy call.
92. Relaxing At The Cottage
I will never forget this call because of how calm the caller was. I had just sat down when a woman called in, calmly stating she was at a cottage with her fiancée on a lake in cottage country. She was relaxing on a lawn chair on her dock when she looked across the bay and saw a man casually walk out holding a human head.
He proceeded to swim around in the lake with it, screaming that he was “free.” I remember feeling horrible because I had to tell her that she couldn’t go inside or look away because I needed to know exactly where the man was for officer safety reasons. The more senior operators even told me they had never seen anything like that.
93. Love Thy Neighbor
A guy was getting intimate with his neighbor’s wife, but the neighbor happened to arrive home early. The guy grabbed his clothes and tried to get back to his house through the fence, but he fell over. His testicles ended up getting stuck between two metal bars in the fence. He asked to send “silent” help, as the neighbor’s wife was having “distraction love making” with her husband so that he wouldn’t notice.
94. EMS Or PMS?
My colleague took a call where a lady got into a minor accident and called to report it. When law enforcement didn’t get there within three seconds like the caller wanted, she called back asking where they were at. My partner explained they were on the way and told her they don’t drive fast or with lights and sirens when no one is hurt or needs an ambulance. The caller then says, “Well, I’m on my period and it’s a heavy flow, so…”
95. What’s That Smell?
One of our unit secretaries had just received a call about a possible decomposing body. A neighbor had called in about a terrible smell coming from a property. Hazmat was called and everything, expecting a dead human body. Once they broke into the house, they found that it wasn’t a dead human—but it was honestly even more disturbing than that. There were 38 dogs in the house.
Eleven of the dogs were deceased and in varying states of decomposition. The two people who owned the house were taken into custody and charged with 51 counts of animal cruelty. All of the animals left alive were taken to the humane society, where half of the county donated food or blankets for them.
96. Some Things Can’t Be Put Back
When I was in EMT school, we were told about a paramedic student (the instructor was a paramedic as well) who observed a stabbing call. They arrive at the bar and see a dude with a knife in his abdomen. Medic student takes lead and pulls the knife out, something you never do, as I’m sure you know. Senior medic loses his freaking mind at this dumbass, asking him what the heck he was thinking.
The student freaks out and, you guessed it, puts the freaking knife back in. The patient died as a result, student lost any chance of having a good job (not even just in EMS) and was charged with the death of the patient (might’ve been manslaughter I don’t remember). His entire life was ruined because he freaked out and made a mistake on a call, not a rookie mistake or a common slip-up, but in about half a minute, he ruined his life.
97. New Account Balance: $9.11
I work in the dispatch center for a department that serves a city with a population just shy of a million, so we get a buttload of calls every day. Naturally, we get some wild stories about various cons, especially these days. Because of this, I quickly became numb to some of the mental gymnastics people do while they rationalize why they sent the IRS $5,000 worth of Best Buy gift cards purchased from five different Best Buy stores.
Half the stories give me a chuckle, but an overwhelming majority of them just cause me to feel bad for the caller because I know they’re not getting any of that money back. This brings me to a call that I took last year from a younger woman who was likely in her late 20s or early 30s. Her story started off like any run-of-the-mill scam: Someone claiming to be from the FBI called to inform her that she had a warrant out for her but that she could “clear her name” if she sent them money.
Well, how much money did they ask for? They told her that all of the money in her checking account would suffice…Yup, that’s correct. Whatever random amount of money she had would do—so, that’s what she sent. The total amounted to about $4,000. But wait—there’s more. After feeling bad for her and gathering some additional information, I began to let her know about the various reporting options and whatnot. She cut me off and asked, “Well, what can I do about the verification pictures?”
I was like, “What are you talking about?” What she said next blew my mind. She explained, “Well, yeah, they said they needed to verify my identity through their body verification system. So, I sent them several naked photos as they asked me to—pictures from the front, the side, and from the back while I was bending over.” I was absolutely stunned.
She had to do a quintessential, “Ya there?” into the phone so that I could come back to freaking reality for a moment. At this point, I thought I was the one getting messed with! But she was bawling her eyes out by this time, so I made no assumptions, other than the fact that there was probably even more to the story—WHICH THERE FREAKING WAS.
Like a respectful kid listening to a bedtime story, I was just like, “And then what happened?” She proceeded to tell me that they threatened to send the photos to her friends and family if she didn’t pay them even more money. How much money? Well, in true FBI-Body-Verifying-Agent form, they doubled down and said that all the money she had in her savings account would be enough, WHICH WAS $25,000!
I’m just sitting there in my chair like, please God, no. But of course, she sent it to them. I’ve considered getting into the scamming business ever since.
98. Parents, Am I Right?
A teenager once called because his mother had grounded him from using his PS4. He tried to cover it up by saying, “My mother is trying to hurt me mentally and physically.” When we arrived, we quickly found out the truth. It’s pretty funny to think that the kid really thought we would be able or willing to do something about it.
99. 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.
100. It’s A Dog’s Life
Several years ago, shortly after I had moved into my current house, my neighbor at the time would get mad at me for letting my dog poop in his yard. Now, my dog only goes out in the front yard when I’m with him, and I keep him contained in my yard. Sometimes he sneaks a squat when I’m tending the garden, but I usually catch him in the act and use a leaf or something to toss the pile back into my yard.
However, my backyard is fenced off by a wooden privacy fence that was in disrepair, so I figured my neighbor was complaining about my dog slipping through somewhere and pooping in their backyard. Fair enough, so I go through and repair all the gaps I can find with new boards, and all is well. Next day, I come home from work and my neighbor is complaining about dog droppings in his yard again.
I suggest it must be someone else’s dog, he suggests I go screw myself. Whatever, I’ve done my due diligence, I’m done with their nonsense. I wanna say it was about two to three days later that a cop knocked at my front door. I couldn’t believe what he was holding. In his hands was a bag that my neighbor had given him with a huge dog poop in it, and I mean HUGE, almost two inches in diameter.
The officer explains that my neighbor was filing a nuisance complaint against me because I let my dog drop in his front yard, and had been so kind as to provide this bag of evidence of my dog’s wrongdoings. He had barely finished his introduction when my 11lb Pomeranian finally woke up from his nap and came bounding to the front door to be petted by the owner of this new voice.
I said something along the lines of “Officer, if my dog left THAT, I don’t think he would be able to walk right now.” He laughed, petted my dog, and wished me a good day. Meanwhile my neighbor’s Bull Mastiff is wreaking havoc in their back yard…
101. Daredevil Disaster
I took a call from a panicked woman advising me of a rollover crash that happened near her house. She lived near the top of a blind hill that people liked to “jump.” She told me that a girl was laying on the ground about 30 feet or so from the vehicle. When asked if the girl is alive, she says, “Oh yes, she’s wiggling around on the ground. My daughter is a nurse, she’s checking on her now.”
Awesome. We hardly ever are lucky enough to have a trained professional on the scene before a med unit can get there. She tells me her daughter is starting CPR. My caller was getting frantic again and we already had first responders on the way, so I started asking more questions about the scene.
Her daughter breaks CPR to get on the phone with me and tells me she can do compressions only. Confused, I asked why—but the answer nearly made me scream. The girl’s jaw was completely gone. A bit stunned, I told her to continue compressions. But rather than getting put back on with the original caller, I hear the scared voice of a teenage girl, the driver: “Is my friend going to be okay?”
I couldn’t find anything to say for a moment. Finally, I said, “They’re doing CPR, dear and we have help on the way. Are you and the other passenger okay?” “We’re fine. Just please tell me she’s okay.” The girl on the ground was confirmed D.O.A. She had been laying down in the back seat without her seat belt on because she had a headache. She was 15.