Being an emergency dispatcher must lead to experiences no other job could possibly create. Someone calls, panicked, worried, and it's your duty to not only keep the person calm, but retrieve critical information to pass along to the necessary help before they arrive. However, not every call ends well, as evidenced by the stories below.
Reddit user, u/catsugh, wanted to hear from the front line when they asked:
Wait For Professional Help To Arrive
Harley motorcycle tipped over and the clutch lever went into a 4 year old's eye. Parent was on the line asking what to do. Suddenly, she said, "They're going lift the motorcycle." I emphatically told her to tell them to stop and wait for rescue and EMS. Rescue ended up cutting off the clutch lever and transporting the kid to hospital. She underwent surgery. That was 1982. Just last year, I met the lead rescue officer and the girl herself, now fully grown. They wanted to meet the 911 operator that saved her vision.
A Members Only Club?
18 year old took mephedrone and attacked his mother with a knife. She locked herself in the bathroom and called 999 (UK here). We turn up and the son is butt @ss naked climbing out the window in the front door which he'd smashed. He gets taken to the ground and cuffed. Me and another manage to crawl through the window without cutting ourselves and find mother inside. Place is covered in blood smeared up the walls and every knife from the kitchen bloodied and discarded round the house.
The adrenaline is just starting wear off as the paramedics arrive for Mum and as they're treating her, we go to the kitchen and find a dismembered..... member.... sat on the worktop. Turns out the kid had cut his own penis off after his Mum locked herself in the bathroom. If you google meow meow (slang name for mephedrone) one of the first results is an article about this call in Rolling Stone magazine, although they say he was hanging out the bedroom window and he [wasn't.]
But yeah, I will never forget holding a penis that was not attached to somebody. Not having to utter the words "whose penis is this?" "Does he have a penis" and "wait, don't forget his penis!" (The ambulance almost left with him while we still had it in the house)
A Chance To Prove Yourself
I do Search and Rescue work.
Got a call to respond to a missing lady in her 60s, gone overnight. Police had been searching for hours with no luck, so by the time I got there she had been missing for over 16 hours.
This was my K9s first search ever, so I was super nervous but also proud that we could help. The police kept trying to hold me to a small 10 acres set of woods but my gut said trust my dog, she wasn't there.
The police officer got angry with me and decided to go back to the 10 acres while I continued with my K9 into a new area. 5 mins later my dog gives an alert and I watch which way she went. I climbed over a huge tree to find the lady standing there in shock. She went passed out as soon as I said who I was and asked her what her name was.
After years of being told I was wasting my time, my dog was sh!t, and if I wanted to do SAR I should get a real dog, it was the most amazing feeling in the world. My K9 is almost retired, has multiple finds and a recovery under her paws now, and she is just simply amazing.
Hearing The Terror
a mother called because her kid pulled a pot of oil off the stove and it spilled on his face.
she said she could see the skin peeling off his face.
Friendly reminder to NEVER POINT THE HANDLES OF YOUR POTS OR PANS OFF THE STOVE
Duly noted. I can't believe this hasn't occurred to me as a parent of an infant who's learning to walk.
Working as a deputy sheriff. Got a 911 call to the local park for a dead body. Got there and this lady with a flashlight waved us down. As we approached we yelled out asking if she was the caller. She said yes. We yelled out again where is the body. She said right here, pulled out a gun, and killed herself right in front of us. She wanted to make sure we found her body before the kids showed up the next morning to play in the park.
Unable To Let Go
This isn't mine, but a friend of mine fielded this call. An elderly gentleman called 911 to notify them that his wife had passed in her sleep. Only it was like 7 o'clock at night. Apparently he just couldn't deal with it emotionally, so he got her dressed, took her out to the car, and drove around doing his errands for the day. Watched some TV together. And then after 12 or so hours he finally sort of accepted that she was gone and called 911.
A Slow Descent Into Awful
Man called to report a male was breaking into his neighbors vehicle across the street. A few minutes into the call the man came and started to break into the callers vehicle. A few minutes later the man spotted my caller and broke into his house from the window. Spent 10 minutes listening to physical fight when I finally heard the police enter the house and say "there's blood everywhere." Both intruder and caller died. Oh, and another 911 dispatcher had my callers wife and kids on another line who were hiding upstairs and heard everything.
I talked a lot of people who were shot/stabbed/beaten in the final moments of their lives but you usually get them after the situation occurred. This caller was just trying to look out for his neighbor and I spent a good 15-20 minutes bantering while waiting for officers to arrive and get the auto thief. Getting to joke around and get to know someone's personality before they violently die hit a lot different than taking a call after violence had occurred.
A Quiet Handling Of The Truth
Someone called stating they had seen a man on a small island on the lake hours ago but now the man was gone and his boat is still out there.
An older woman called in a half hour later stating her husband had gone missing, he was last seen taking his boat out on the lake sometime overnight. The increasing tension in her voice as she noticed sheriff's deputies were already dredging the lake was something else. She was calm but clearly actively dealing with the fact her husband was likely dead. They found his body not long after I hung up with her.
Sometimes it's the people screaming that get to you, sometimes its the quiet acceptance of a horrible truth that stays with you longer.
Memorial Day, 1989. FF/EMT at the time. Call dispatched as a "car into a telephone pole." When we got there, I couldn't believe the carnage. A HS student had been given a muscle car as a birthday present. The police later estimated he was going over 90mph when he hit the pole head-on.
Patient's right femur was about six inches long, his patella almost touching his pelvis. The entire long bone had compressed like an accordion. He had other multiple injures. Took us two hours to cut him out of the car. The medics were pumping him so full of drugs to maintain his blood pressure they started to openly worry that they might f*ck his kidneys up.
We finally got him out of the car (only time I've ever seen a KED used) on a gurney and took off for the hospital. Medic had two large-bore IVs going, and had a BP cuff wrapped around one of the bags to create his own "rapid infuser."
The kid lived. He ended up losing the foot on the leg that was destroyed, and that leg (from what I heard months later) was more metal than flesh.
Until the end
Not a 911 responder, but I will never forget about hearing this one in my area. Student housing in the city's center wasn't up to code, someone left something burning in the clothing store below and a huge fire broke out. One student was still inside and couldn't get out because there was no fire escape. Trapped. He called 911. She stayed with him till the end.
I remember odd things people say under stress...
A girl's arm was ripped to shreds in a dog mauling, she kept using the word "meat". "There's shredded meat everywhere!" And she continued to say it as she found pieces of her arm on the ground. "Is that a piece of my meat?!" and "Huhuhu, omg it's my meat!!"
"I brought you the asparagus. The asparagus!!" -guy who came back from the market to find his partner dead.
Little 4-year-old girl got ran over by her grandmother with a lawnmower that was on. It was not the gore or the blood that got me, it was the utter panic of the family, and the way they broke down when the helicopter took off with her inside.
I'm not a first responder anymore but one of my first arson cases was an absolutely hilarious disaster. This husband and wife hated each other but didn't want to get divorced. What they did want was a new house.
So they poured kerosene on approximately 60 rags and stuffed them under the end table next to the couch. Then placed an empty kerosene lamp on the end table.
Then they took a 5 gallon gas can full of gas, took the spout off, and placed it in their master bedroom closet. Their completely devoid of all clothing master bedroom closet except for two jackets with tassels with the price tags still on them. Then they opened all their safes and left them empty and open in the middle of the bedroom.
Then they took all the pictures out of the house and replaced them with random photos they printed off the internet.
Then they removed the televisions and replaced them with old tvs. They put the flat-screen televisions in their barn.
Then they poured a clear trail of gasoline down the hallway.
Their alibi was that on the day of the fire, they were trying to sell their canoe. They finally got a buyer, but the only time they could meet the buyer was at 3 am that night. So they drove 2 hours away to sell a canoe at 3 am the very same night. They then tried to claim the unlit, non electric kerosene lamp must have exploded. Then they claimed that their c neighbors were trying to frame them for arson. Then the husband claimed that his wife was trying to frame him for arson. Then he claimed that Sears was trying to frame him for arson because they were tired of paying his settlement after being injured at work 25 years prior.
It was a good time.
I love characters I love to hate.
Even when I hate them I can always find the reason they're involved in the story, so I find it difficult to want them to be erased.
Certain characters flaws and the most heinous decisions are written to further story and bolster the audience's love for the heroes.
So as much as we loathe them, we need them; much like our enemies in real life. That is what makes compelling drama.
Redditor u/nekoandCJ wanted to spill the tea on the characters we could do without in our favorite stories by asking:
People of reddit, what fictional character do you hate with a passion?
The list is long for me. It all starts with the guy who shot Bambi's mom. Lord, to this day that is still traumatizing. But she had to go to give Bambi a story. And Michael Douglas's character in "Fatal Attraction," what a putz. He got what he deserved. But how else would we be able to sympathize with Glenn Close? Even though... well y'all get it.
Family FailHome Alone Christmas GIF by FreeformGiphy
"Kevin McCallister's uncle… "look what you did you little JERK!"
"Percy from the green mile, that freak can DIE IN THE MENTAL WARD!!"
"That was what was so good, there is a Percy in every large group and more that one in any team where failure isn't punished, like a government job working at a prison. He was a great comment on humanity."
Love Sharon Though
"Ginger from Casino."
"Major kudos to Sharon Stone, her performance made me utterly loathe that character. She was a manipulative junkie who tied her young daughter to a bed so she could go out to score. I wanted to reach through the screen and choke her."
"Loathe the character, but that performance is absolutely god-tier. Helluva an acting job. Her and Pesci just freaking nail it to the stratosphere, playing thoroughly unlikeable characters in the absolute most realistic way. Ginger is the holistic ideal of the gold-digging party girl. And Pesci is that moron Dunning-Kruger guy we all know."
"Manny from Diary of a Wimpy kid I think there's a while subreddit about that little monster."
Call a Doctor!Giphy
"Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. My favorite antagonist ever. Louise Fletcher was perfectly cast for the role, too."
Ohhhh... good choices thus far. Although, I found Sarah Paulson's Ratched more detestable. You know who else is a mess? Elmira Gulch. Love the Wicked Witch. Hate Elmira! Go figure...
True Evilthe sopranos hbo GIFGiphy
"Livia Soprano made my blood pressure rise every time she was on screen. Great acting. Mission accomplished."
"I will say, I've seen Comic-Con panels with him and his smarta** sense of humor fit Micah perfectly. He may have hated the character, but boy oh boy was he a fantastic casting choice. As were all the main cast, for that matter."
All the Drama
"When I tell you I stood up and cheered when I originally saw Heather from Total Drama Island finally get booted out of the competition. 'Twas a good day."
"Season 1 I HATED her and loved when she lost her hair. But then it was more of a love-hate relationship with her. She's a fun character. Owen, now that monster I hate. Loved him season 1, but then he just got reduced to fat guy who farts and contributes nothing."
"Craig from Malcolm in the Middle. He's a selfish, annoying coward. Like the episode where he's injured and he makes Lois drive all over town to different restaurants for him. I love when the helper monkey turns on him, that's what he gets for treating it like crap. I especially hate the episode where Hal asks Craig to help him buy a comic book for Malcolm."
"And Craig also makes Hal drive him all over town for different meals and treats and gifts, then when Hal dares to ask when they're actually going to the comic book store Craig flips out and demands to be let out of the car and says he won't help Hal anymore. Like come the hell on, I just want to slap him."
"Do you need a cough drop, Dolores?!"
"I loved Umbridge for the simple fact that she brought out McGonagall's savagery like no one else, and it was glorious."
"Voldemort is just another generic, pointlessly evil type of character that only seems to exist in fiction. Umbridge is the type of tight @ssed bureaucrat that mimics the actual villain in many average people's real lives."
This thread could be endless. So many villains and loathesome characters so little time. But Lord the drama is good!
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Everyone has their own little quirks.
What's the weirdest thing you find attractive?
Perhaps the thing you find the most attractive is completely unnoticeable to the average person. As in, if you weren't looking for this one tiny, small, completely negligible thing, you would never notice it.
But these people did.
Whip It Back And Forth
"My wife had shoulder length hair for a while. Once, when I called her name and she did the hair-swish-smile thing, I just about f-cking died from cuteness."
Little Stragglies Of Cuteness
"The neck, when a woman has her hair up and those little bits of hair curl around."
"Seeing a girl have to stand on her tiptoes to do basically anything, especially to hug or kiss me.
I think it's the cutest thing ever"
Then there are those people who find things attractive that, on first viewing, someone else wouldn't see as "Wow, that's a real turn on!" However, you have refined and cultured taste. Of course you'll love it when someone's bones stick out a little bit.
"Collarbones. Can't even explain it. Just a shirt low enough to show a pronounced collarbone."
"Omgyes! Protruding collarbones and (at least imo) hipbones are crazy hot! It doesn't have to do with them being skinny though! Slightly curvy people can also have really nice defined collar- and hipbones!"
Controlling A Massive Machine
"My husband reversing the car. He puts his arm around the passenger seat and looks over his shoulder...."
"Oh, man, I love watching people drive. The arm-around-the-passenger-seat-while-reversing thing for sure, but also just people driving in general. There's just something about that focus people get when they're behind the wheel; the way their expressions are usually passive, but their eyes are attentive... oh man. I'm with you on this one for sure."
Someone Has A Thing For "Teen Wolf"
"Long canines. The teeth, not the species.
Not unnaturally long like vampire fangs, but just enough that they're longer than the rest of the teeth."
"Huh, weirdest compliment I've gotten from a guy before was that he liked my 'pointy teeth.' This was at a bar and it made my coworker do a double take."
Then there's these, which you may not have known did it for you, but after reading these there's no going back. You're hooked, now, and that's okay. Embrace the weirdness.
I See You Are Also An Individual Of Class And Substance
"Chokers, f-ck those things stir up something primal in me"
"Ah I see you also grew up in the 90s and watched buffy the vampire slayer..."
Wait, That Seems Pretty Obvi-Oh, That's Why...
"Guys who wear glasses.
For some reason I think it's sexy when we're making out and he has to take them off."
Seems Like You Like Everything They Do. Which Is Great.
"I like when women have to go pee really bad and do that dance. Yea it's weird.
Or when you successfully feed your girlfriend at the appropriate time of day and she does a little dance or starts humming a song as she's chewing.
I like watching the daily skin care routine as they furiously and rapidly circulate their little raccoon sized hands in various nonsense that I'll never understand"
Everyone is different. Everyone has different tastes. Everyone has things that speak to them. These are all perfectly acceptable, and steering into them might actually help you along as you continue your search for a viable romantic partner. Don't shy away from the things you find sexy. Embrace them. Be happy.
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When we're kids, we expect the adults in our lives to notice everything, know everything, and maintain a just, sound moral order.
Psh, don't hold your breath.
Whether it's a teacher, the parent supervising a playdate, or mom and dad at home, kids expect them to have eyes on the back of their heads.
That way, when a kid gets into a spat with a peer, has something stolen, or feels a quiet emotion, the adult in the room will respond with full knowledge of all the facts at play.
But adults are just human beings with a limited bandwidth in their heads. Half the time they're doing other things when the incident goes down.
So they weigh in as best as they can with the limited info they receive--usually in the form of two screaming children pointing at one another.
Curious to learn about the times when the adult got it wrong, Redditor Butterat_Zool asked:
"What minor injustice was wrought upon you as a child that you're still salty about today?"
Many people talked about times when a prized possession was stolen, destroyed, or squandered. Sure, things are just things.
But to kids they mean a whole lot.
Covering Her Tracks
"We had a special arts and crafts week when I was about six, maybe younger. I made my dad a Christmas stocking out of clay, because I'd always thought it was unjust that he didn't have one. It was going to be my Christmas presents to him."
"I took it to the teacher to show her, and so it could be fired later. She methodically destroyed it by balling it up in her hands, and then tried to put it down to a brain fart. I was shocked, but mostly I wanted a replacement stocking, since it was meant to be a gift. I asked her to remake it for me, since she, a teacher, would be allowed to use the clay any time, but I only had a few minutes left."
"The next day I was told I'd been bad and I wasn't allowed to participate in the arts and crafts week any more, and that was that."
No Help From Pa
"When I was 4 I had a little red rocking horse necklace. It was my favourite. I wore it to a puppet show my dad took me to one day and took it off and put it beside me."
"The kid next to me picked it up and wouldn't give it back. We fought."
"My dad told her dad he didn't recognize the necklace and let her take it. I'm 45 and still salty."
In-School Pawn Shop
"Teacher took my 2ft long pencil and sold it to another student."
"Yup. A few teachers at that school sold supplies like pencils to students. It just so happened that this one was taken from me because it was 'too distracting' "
All Them Nintendos
"When I was younger I wanted a Sega Dreamcast. My parents wouldn't just buy it for me, since 'I already had enough Nintendos.' I got a job at Hollywood Video. I couldn't even drive yet, so I would ride my BMX to work in my tuxedo uniform."
"When I saved enough money, I told my parents I was going to buy it myself. They told me no. When I asked why, they said it was to teach me that I can't always get what I want, even if I can afford it."
"I bought one anyway and successfully hid it from them. Every night when I went to 'bed,' I'd hook up the Dreamcast and play as quietly as possible. I still give them sh** for that decision, but they stand by it."
Other people fixated on the times an adult embarrassed them in front of multiple people. Of all the examples given, these are enough to make you really worry about some of the people watching kids out there.
"We were on a field trip to some Washington forest and the ranger started asking about products that grow in or are made from forests."
"3rd grade me who had just discovered in some Ranger Rick article that latex rubber comes from tree trunks confidently raised my hand to share."
" 'Uh rubber from trees, now that doesn't sound right does it' and she moved onto another. 35 years later and the salt is still there."
"In 4th grade our teacher told us to write a paper about what we thought of our school, now our school wasn't great and I was homeschooled up until that year and struggling with the change so wrote about my frustrations and how I was generally unhappy with it..."
"...and she insulted me in front of everybody until the point that I cried and then told me I should get up and read the paper to the class, I refused and she made me rewrite that paper until it was positive, you know instead of trying too help me with the problems I had"
Don't Cross a Paleo Nerd
"I was failed on an essay in English class because my interpretation was incorrect. The poet was describing an airplane and they asked us to figure how what it was being interpreted or anthropomorphized as."
"I was a paleo nerd and chose a pterosaur, because the author described the engines as screeching, and heaving, wings outstretched but still, etc. This was in 6th grade and in my essay I wrote 'and pterosaurs weren't like modern birds, they certainly didn't chirp!' "
"The teacher specifically read my essay out loud to the class as an example of something bad and wrong and 'incorrect.' She also didn't know what a pterosaur was or how you say pterodactyl. Big Salt could mine me until the sun explodes."
And finally, others shared the times they found themselves doing the wrong thing, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. The adult only saw a snippet of a much broader context of behavior.
And the minimal knowledge led them to punish exactly the wrong person.
"Someone's phone went off in class, so teacher demanded that person turn their phone it. No one budges. She holds us in class for a good 20 minutes into the next period antagonizing us about this phone that rung. Eventually she let us go and warned all other teachers about this phone incident."
"My 8th period teacher then gets involved and antagonizes us all again. Said he was gonna stand out in the hall and whoever knows anything to report to him. Some kid went out there and said it was my phone. I got yelled at, got written up for Saturday detention, and later that year found out the kid who told on me was the one who's phone rung in class."
The One Time
"In kindergarten, we sat on this foam mat made out of large puzzle pieces, and we were all assigned one. My puzzle neighbor, Tommy, threw his garbage onto my square. Every time I pushed it off, he'd put it back."
"I eventually got mad and told him to knock it off, and the teacher noticed and yelled at me for throwing garbage into his square. I sat out for the rest of the day and my pin was brought down to 'bad day'. I accidentally broke his nose on the metal spider a few weeks after during tag, though."
Pulled In to the Chatter Hole
"Once a week, in kindergarten, they would pick a name of a kid who would win a toy. Only good kids could participate."
"I was alway a good kid, but not really lucky. My name got picked only once in the whole year. That day, unfortunately for me, I was next to a kid who would not shut up during the lesson. I spoke once to ask him to please stop talking. Guess who the teacher chose to punish for disturbing the lesson? That's right. Me. Didn't get my toy."
Until some kind of horrifying technology comes out that allows adults to see and know every facet of their child's existence, tiny injustices like this will proliferate.
But perhaps those couple slights are totally worth the freedom of adults that don't know everything we're up to.
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Modern medicine is a marvel. It's the reason why we've been able to effectively eradicate some serious diseases and improve the quality of health care around the world. When you take these two things into consideration, it's easy to see why vaccine hesitancy can be such a frustrating topic for people right now.
Many people would not be able to survive without the benefits of modern medicine. That's what we learned after Redditor forevernostalgic23 asked the online community,
"If modern medicine didn't exist what medical condition would have died from or been severely impacted by?"
"Bad vision alone would have made me terrible at most things."
I had bad vision until my early 20s. I second this.
"I would have had a very short life..."
"I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age seven. I would have had a very short life without modern medicine."
Having known many people who live with diabetes, I am glad that they are still here.
"I probably would have died..."
"I probably would have died at 6 years old from strep throat."
This is a big one: In the past, it commonly killed many people. And guess what, it still does? The CDC estimates approximately 11,000 to 24,000 cases of invasive group A strep disease occur each year in the United States, with 1,200 to 1,900 of those cases resulting in death.
"I was born..."
"I was born with a bilateral abdominal hernia and amniotic fluid in my lungs, no way I would have survived infancy without modern medicine."
"My brother and I..."
My brother and I were bitten by a rabid farm kitten when we were 6 and 4 years old. Without the foresight of my grandfather who had the cat tested and modern medicine creating the vaccine, my parents would be childless."
Frightening! I saw Cujo as a child and that told me all I needed to know about rabies, thank you very much.
"I would have gone deaf..."
"I would have gone deaf from recurrent ear infections as a child and then died at 14 from pneumonia."
"But since that..."
"I was born two months premature, so I'd likely not survive that in an earlier era. But since that, nothing."
"Mom and Dad..."
"The way I was born. Mom and Dad had to feed me through a tube down my nose the first year and a half."
"If the recurrent..."
"If the recurrent tonsillitis didn't get me, my appendix would have been the end of me as a teen."
"Neither kiddo nor I..."
"Giving birth. Neither kiddo nor I would be alive without emergency surgery."
Amazing, right? Be grateful for modern medicine––there are new developments each and every day. And who knows what the future has in store for us? Will there be a cure for cancer? Alzheimer's disease and dementia? The sky's the limit.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below!