It's not a shock to anyone that 911 operators get tons of serious, important calls every day. But what you might not always think about is that they get tons of wild, unexpectedly funny calls from people who've gotten themselves into sticky situations, too.
1. This bad brother:
"A little kid called 911 because he wanted the cops to come arrest his brother. You see, their mom said that the caller's brother was supposed to share the Legos, but he wasn't sharing. The caller's brother said that he was playing with all of the Legos, which wasn't possible. There were too many Legos for one person to play with all of them at once, argued our caller. Therefore, his brother was a liar, a jerk, and a turd and we needed to come and arrest him. We had a high degree of confidence that this wasn't a coded request for help, so we asked to speak to an adult. We confirmed that there was no distress and closed the case. Share your Legos, kids."
2. This dangerously tight shirt:
"I got a call about a man who required extrication from an Under Armor insulated shirt. His shoulder popped out of the socket while he was pulling it on, and it was halfway off when his arm locked and dislocated. He was laughing, and said, 'I would have driven myself to the hospital, but I would've had to drive with my arm out the window!'"
3. This family emergency:
"I once called 911 because I cut my finger and wanted to talk to my mom who was a dispatcher. I called crying and asking to talk to her by name. She was more pissed at my dad for not waking up when I tried to go to him first."
4. This terrifying monster:
"I had a grown man call in about a monster trying to get into his son's room. His son explained that the monster had climbed a tree and was at his bedroom window. It was as big as his dog and it has hands like him but tiny. I asked the kid if it had rings on its tail and he said yes. Turns out, they had just moved to America a month before 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."
5. This concerning child:
"I was a 911 dispatcher years ago, this specific call that still makes me laugh. A frazzled mother called because her 6-year-old had gotten onto the roof and she couldn’t get him down. She kept screaming about how we needed to hurry, but not because she was worried he would get hurt. Apparently, he had done this before, and last time he peed in the air vents."
6. This catastrophic conundrum:
"Someone called because they got their head stuck in their cat's scratching post. The cat was stuck inside with them. Throughout the call, I kept hearing things like 'ow, fuck' and 'dude, this isn't fun for me either.'"
7. This high stakes question:
"My dad used to be in charge of the 911 call center. One particular story I remember was in '09 when some guy called asking how much weed he could have in his car while driving through the state. They went back and forth for maybe 20 minutes with the guy repeating and rephrasing the question and my dad just responding 'none.'"
8. This Father's Day gone wrong:
"It was Father's Day and this kid called in at least six times at around 10 p.m. He never stayed on the line long enough for us to get a good ping on his cellphone, until he started talking about how his teddy bear was 'sick.' We asked to speak to his parents and he told us they were in bed and the door was locked. We asked him to go knock on the door, and he then told us he had been locked in his room.
By this point, we had an officer en route to this kid's house to go make sure everything was okay and to tell his parents the kid has been calling. The officer made his way up to the comm center and proceeded to tell us all that the dad answered the door wearing only boxer shorts and was more than a little agitated when he found out his son had been calling 911. Apparently, the dad had been getting his Father's Day gift from mom when the officer showed up."
9. This friendly phone call:
"When I was like 6, I called the police from our home phone and asked if they would come play with me because I didn’t have friends. They showed up — because they have to respond — and I got a lecture from the police and my military parents about the seriousness of calling 911."
10. This late night chupacabra sighting:
"I got certified as a call taker and was mandated for overtime on my first shift. Policy was if someone insisted they saw something, we take it at face value and enter the call. Well, this lady called me just after midnight swearing she saw a chupacabra on the west side of Orlando and insisted on an officer doing an area check. Not too long after that, a coworker was in on his night off and left the building. He called two mins later saying he saw a kangaroo hopping down the street."
11. These dance moves that were so good, they seemed illegal:
"My friend had the cops called on him because he was doing 'liquid' at the C train station. It's is a form of dancing at raves where your hands move in a way that looks like they're liquid. The person who called the cops was scared it was satanic or something."
12. This positively rabid animal:
"This woman called 911 three times in 10 minutes because she saw a service animal in a mall. 'He’s here staring at me! No, I don’t care that he’s helping. He just licked his nuts!'"
13. This possessed vending machine:
"I took a call with a guy who insisted he was in an argument with a man dressed as a giant Pepsi bottle. He said the man in the Pepsi suit had stolen his debit card and refused to give it back. Upon arrival the officers told me he was high as shit and arguing with a vending machine."
14. This poorly designed panic alarm:
"I accidentally called once at my grandma’s house. I went into her room and flipped the light switch, but it didn’t work. I tried it a few more times, then found another switch that did work. Turns out the first 'light switch' was a 911 alert switch. I hid under the bed when the police arrived."
15. This reminder that a few letters can change everything:
"I'm from a small town where everyone knows everyone. My uncle Jim is a cop, so all the dispatchers and first responders know my grandma pretty well. One day, my uncle was working on something electrical in the basement and shocked himself. He was unconscious, but ended up being fine. My grandma called 911 and screamed into the phone, 'Vee! It's Kate! Jimmy's been shocked!' What Vee, the dispatcher, heard was, 'Jimmy's been shot!' Every single police officer, sheriff's deputy, EMS, paramedic, firefighter, and park ranger in town arrived at my grandma's house. My uncle was super confused and embarrassed when he woke up."
16. This perplexing phone call:
"A lady called in because she thought Willie Nelson was having a cardiac arrest in her trailer. I started giving her CPR instructions, and when paramedics got there, she was doing compressions on the couch cushions."
17. This all-around strange situation:
"A guy called in because his dog had bitten a seagull and was now 'acting strange.' He demanded we find the bird, capture it, and test it for rabies. The whole circumstance was vague and he was unwilling to listen to reasonable advice, like that birds can’t carry rabies."
18. This penis problem:
"One time a guy called in while I was training and stated that he cut his penis. When I asked him again to clarify, the trainer smacked me on the arm and told me he said he'd cut his hand. She looked at me like the biggest pervert! Then 10 seconds later he says, 'yeah, I was trying on a rubber that was too small and I had to cut it off so I cut right into my penis!' She almost couldn't stop herself from laughing."
19. This new spin on the old "why the chicken crossed the road" joke:
"Once I talked to a pizza delivery guy who couldn't reach his destination because a defiant chicken was standing in the middle of the road. I stayed with him on the phone as he pleaded with it to finally move along."
20. This Thanksgiving throw-down:
"On Thanksgiving morning around 5 a.m., I got a call from a lady who needed help 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. I went through our procedures to check to see if this was a domestic issue where the individual couldn't speak freely, but this was not the case. I apologized for her problem but informed her this was not an actual emergency, so I need to clear the line.
She called back twice and hung up when she realized it was me again. I informed her it was only me working that morning, and she hung up before I could tell her that law enforcement (LE) would come out to her location if she called again. About 10 minutes later, she called with a sob story about her Thanksgiving being ruined and needing help to salvage it for her family. I let her know LE was on their way, and she tried to call it like I was bluffing until I read back her address. She hung up again.
LE arrived and she played dumb, like she had no idea why they are there. She got a verbal and they left, only for her to call me back to chew me out and file a complaint for scaring her kids."
21. And finally, this absolute roller coaster of a story:
"I had a guy call in on 911 because he was concerned about a seagull he thought was injured in a Chipotle restaurant parking lot. Apparently while on the phone, he tried to pick up or check on the bird and it started squawking. Then he freaked out and I started having trouble telling them apart. I could hear what might have been wings flapping, a brief silence, and suddenly the guy started hyperventilating and screaming he needed an ambulance because he was having a heart attack and that the bird flew off. I wasn't sure if he was being serious so I got him over to EMS as a precaution. Upon transfer and getting EMS on the line, he got very quiet and said, 'I think I'm okay, I'll call you back later,' hung up, and wouldn't answer on callback. I still wonder about Steven Seagull whenever I drive by a Chipotle."