The Quick 10: 10 Ridiculous Reasons to Call 911
There are only a few situations that justify a call to 911—to report a fire, a medical emergency, or a crime in progress. There are, however, a lot of bad excuses for dialing dispatch. Here are ten.
1. The Jets aren’t in Winnipeg. It might have been criminal to a certain demographic that the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix in 1996. But 14 years later, a man in Lundar, Manitoba, was still distraught—so upset, in fact, that he made a series of 911 calls demanding officers do something to get the team back. After finally frustrating (and insulting) operators, the man was informed that officers were dispatched to arrest him. His response: “If you’re coming to get me, can you bring me some smokes?”
In the summer of 2011, the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg and took up the old Jets name; no word on whether the two events are related.
2. Your husband won’t eat his dinner. Elsa Benson of Kerrville, TX, reportedly called 911 because her husband “did not want to eat his supper.” That wasn’t the first time area police had been to her house, though—30 calls over six months included requests for assistance finding lost clothing and catching her dog. She’s been charged twice with abusing the 911 system.
3. The Genius Bar is closed. Say you’ve had a few drinks and your iPhone isn’t working properly. You can sleep it off and hit the Apple Store tomorrow morning, or do like Michael Alan Skopec and call 911 five times to complain about it. The officers didn’t fix his phone when they arrived, though—they charged Skopec with obstructing or resisting a peace officer after he “refused to comply with orders from deputies.”
4. That cop was “really cute.” Lorna Dudash wanted a date. Instead, she got arrested.
5. There’s a UFO… or not. A British man dialed 999 to report an “enormous light blazing” over his house. “I don’t know what the hell it is,” he kept saying, but explained that the object wasn’t making any engine noise and had stopped heading toward his house. Two minutes after an operator promised to look into the matter, he called back to tell her that he’d figured out the source of the hovering light: “You won’t believe this. It’s the moon.”
6. Time is going by really, really, really, really slow. And you think you’re dying. Edit: You think you’re dead.
7. You need a ride. James Finlayson of Bangor, Maine, called 911 repeatedly to ask for a ride. When officers showed up, he was “belligerent and nasty,” but they gave him a lift anyway, directly to Penobscot County Jail. This is a bigger problem than you might realize. The tagline of Florida’s whentocall911.com is “It’s an emergency vehicle. Not a taxi.”
8. You’re locked in a car. Not, like, in the trunk, or pinned under the steering wheel or anything. Just inside.
9. You’re unhappy with your manicure. Cynthia Colston’s nails were too short, she said, or too long, which she also said, and after arguing with her nail tech, she dialed 911 to complain. Then, she called again to ask when the officer would arrive. When authorities showed up, she called again to complain that nothing was being done. Four calls and a confusing report later, Colston was jailed for abusing the emergency dispatch service. And at some point, her nail tech allegedly hit her in the mouth with a nail clipper. (If you figure out what’s going on here, let us know.)
10. You can’t have it your way. A woman at Burger King can’t get her Western Barbecue Burger* made properly. Dispatch is not amused.
*It’s possible that this item doesn’t even exist on Burger King menus, which explains the frustration of the “uncooperative” manager.
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