1. A huge pile-up at the end of a second successive 16-hour shift
Some 911 operators occasionally work 16-hour shifts back-to-back, with a few hours of sleep in-between. One unlucky operator experienced the 911 switchboard light up in the aftermath of a huge highway pileup just an hour prior to the end of her second shift. Thankfully, nobody was killed, but the operator certainly got the shock of her life as a result!
2. The firefighters... cause a fire
Another 911 operator spoke of how he received a call from a firehouse – related to a fire. Confused, he spoke to the dispatcher, who sent out the fire crew from the next station. It turns out that the blaze started after the crew at the first firehouse accidentally left a lasagna in the oven without turning the oven to “off” in their haste to respond to a call. Whoops!
3. The goldfish thief
One of the more ridiculous calls in this list involved the theft of a goldfish. Apparently, an obnoxious woman called the operator in questions after kids from down the street broke into her yard and stole the goldfish from her pond. To this day, the operator doesn’t know the ultimate fate of the fish.
4. Everybody knows Charlie
It’s said that individuals who make many 911 calls are referred to as Frequent Flyers by the operators. One such Frequent Flyer was a man named Charlie. He had mental health problems but was aware of when he was about to have an episode, thus he used to phone in when in need of assistance. He would do so from a landline because it automatically gives the operator his address.
5. I have a problem with my Husband
A woman once called an operator complaining about her husband, warning that first responders should get there quickly because she was about to shoot him. The thing is that Husband turned out to be her dog. Officers arriving on the scene found the woman standing in her yard holding a plunger her arm while pretending to cock it like a shotgun. She was yelling “Boom!” at Husband while doing so. The officers chased her around the yard as she shouted: “you can’t stop me!” Husband is now in the care of the Humane Society.
6. Every village has a crazy lady
Another Frequent Flyer – she was probably the queen of them all – was named Eileen. The cops would take rookie officers out to deal with her just to mess with their heads. One of the most absurd stories she told a 911 operator was that her apartment had been broken into by black and Arab dwarves that proceeded to stick their fingers in her peanut butter.
Another was of a tall Arab man urinating on her chair and then running away while she was in the other room. Yet another involved her upstairs neighbor urinating on her through a hole in the ceiling. The only problem with the latter was that she lived on the top floor of her building, and there was no leak to speak of!
7. A bank robbery while the computers are down
Inevitably, computer systems need to go down for maintenance and upgrading, and that includes the 911 computer system. On a day that this was happening, 911 workers had to write everything down on paper. Lo and behold, an early-morning bank robbery call came in.
The situation soon turned into a full-on car chase, which spanned eight different municipalities with four jurisdictions in three different zones, not to mention state police territory. To say that the control room was organized chaos is a massive understatement – the wave of relief in the building when the suspected was apprehended is said to be legendary.
8. A stalking case like no other
A man named Dan just got out of jail and called 911 for assistance because he was lost and didn’t know how to get back home (he had mental health problems). Some officers were sent to his location to provide assistance after his whereabouts became known, but he soon took up harassing the operator that had initially taken his call. He would be referred to the supervisor after his first few calls, and then was told that he would face charges if he continued with his behavior.
His number was red-listed, but that didn’t prevent him from getting a new one and continuing his antics. The calls to the operator became angrier, and he began making threats. The operator became so terrified that she had her supervisor walk her to the bus stop on her way home and wait with her. On one occasion, he called her and said that he was in the wooded area down the street waiting for her to get off work. Officers were sent to look for him and apprehended him nearby.
9. Old people bring joy to the job
Elderly callers are usually the source of much frustration, amusement, and pleasure all at the same time for 911 operators. They usually need help getting up, or else they tend to be lost or confused. Although some operators reportedly get annoyed at them due to being slow and having trouble hearing, one operator, in particular, spoke of her joy at receiving such a call, because it normally offers a little reprieve from all of the awful things that are usually going on. She spoke of one man (who she really misses) that used to call, ask for the time, say thank you and hang up!