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.
Raise your hands--who had an emo phase in the 2000s? I know I did, as did a lot of people around me. All of us heard “It's just a phase" from our parents at some point, but when you're a kid, life as we know it seems so permanent.
Of course, most of the time, it was “just a phase". And looking back, those phases are regrettable, to say the least. Here are some prime examples of that.
What was your biggest/most regrettable "It's not a phase, mom. It's my life." that, in fact, turned out to be just a phase and not your life?
The enthusiasm of a young person can lead to some unexpected changes that parents are just not ready for.
I was VERY into The Transformers when I was a wee lad in the 1980s. One day, I decided to change my name to the name of my favorite Autobot. My name was lame, and I wanted an awesome Transformer name. And I was VERY insistent that my parents only call me by my new name. Calling me by my 'old' name would cause a big fat tantrum on my part.
So for the better part of a week, my poor parents had to call me Wheeljack.
Very 2008.Ariana Grande Shrug GIFGiphy
My cat-ear phase. I wore cat ears every single day. Everywhere. I had like 20 pairs of them. Now everyone thinks I'm a furry.
I find that very cute and wouldn't have thought you'd be furry. Even if you'd had cat mittens. I think my suspicions would have started if you moved a bit like a cat, displayed catlike grooming habits or got a cat mask.
Not gonna lie, that car sounds cool.
I went to a car show once as a teen, and the only newer car there was some chick's PT cruiser. It was hot glittery pink, and at the time I was obsessed. I insisted that one day I would have a hot pink car, with pink seats, pink dash, pink carpets, etc. I was pretty heavily goth at the time, so my parents just rolled their eyes.
These phases can often lead to some very strange fashion choices.
When I was a teenager (early 00s), I was waiting for my mother to pick me up and was wearing one of those sh!tty sports wristwatches. It was itching me so I took it off for a second, but then she arrived and because I was struggling to get it back on my wrist, I looped it around the equally sh!tty chain I had around my neck in a rush to get out the door.
My mom asked me about it in the car, and I told her this was my new style and I planned to wear it like that every day. She rolled her eyes.
I wore that watch on a chain around my neck every single day for 3 years or so. There are even professional family photos where I'm wearing it because I refused to take it off.
One day, the chain broke and I lost the watch. I was in high school at that point anyway and it was a major lady repellent, so... phase over.
Not everyone can be Eminem.slim shady eminem GIFGiphy
Baggy pants, being a rapper someday and being a professional skater.
When I was about 14 and Eminem was starting to blow up I bought myself a keyboard with a synthesizer. It cost like $200 which was all the money I had saved up. It finally came (this was way before amazon prime and such) and I tried rapping.
My sister told me "you're effing horrible" and I gave up right then and there.
This should be a sin.
I used to button the top buttons of polo shirts.
I must say, this is probably the worst one I've read.
Looking back at our regrettable choices, all we can do is cringe.
An optimistic look at bad tattoos.check me out season 3 GIF by PortlandiaGiphy
Being a tattooer. Regrettable because of those poor people who have my awful doodles on their bodies.
Take heart! My favorite tattoo is the one I drunkenly got my buddy to do in his living room one year during March Madness! It's dumb and frankly mediocre? But such a good story and has such good associations I smile every time I see it.
My friend and I decided we were going to open a bar in Jamaica with exotic snakes in glass cages in the walls at each booth. We convinced ourselves it would be amazing for at least two years in college. It was going to be called Fredro's.
My entire family made fun of me for it. Once we got out of college, we realized it was not feasible and joined the office grind. We're also two white guys with no ties to Jamaica.
Talk about cringey.
I wore a top hat with an anime pin on it for around a year. Met one of my current best friends while wearing it, idk how he could bear to speak to me after that.
My weirdest phase was probably when I insisted on wearing knee-high rainbow socks to school every day. But honestly, I don't regret it. I rocked those socks, and I wish I still have a pair.
To all the people out there cringing over their past selves, remember that you were just a kid, and to be easy on yourselves. After all, we've all been there
It should not take much for a consumer to be satisfied with the products they purchase.
Yet, too often, manufacturers who oversell their products fail to deliver what is promised and are inevitably left with angry customers who want their money back.
Whether the merchandise was defective or ridiculously overpriced, strangers online shared some of their worst purchases when Redditor BooksMcGee asked:
"What is the worst product you ever paid money for?"
Short Life Span
"This NERF gun that's supposed to shoot tennis balls for your dog. I bought it cause I thought you could load 3 at a time and shoot them far, but it's just one and it's super loud and the gun broke after like 4 shots (reading reviews later, this was a common issue)."
"There were these toys called squiggles when I was a kid and the commercials made it seem like the toy was alive. It looked like you would get this crazy little fuzzy worms as pets that would follow you around an so sick tricks and listen to your every command. It was really just a piece of fluffy string tied to another piece of string with googly eyes on it. People may say that it was supposed to be a magic trick but they should also explain that to a 5 year old who really wanted a pet."
"Not their fault, but I paid $70 for a Yugioh card hours before it was limited to one copy. Probably dropped to $20 by the end of the day."
These purchases were bad for your bum.
"A bicycle that literally fell apart before I made it out of the parking lot."
Not Worth Sitting On
"Joybird brand couch. Was so terrible, we returned it. Still hard to believe, we returned a freaking couch."
Going Nowhere Fast
"A 2000 VW Beetle (used)."
"Biggest piece of sh*t that literally had to have just about everything replaced before 100k miles and would still break down every time you left the driveway to the point where the tow-truck driver knew us on a first-name basis."
"An Oldsmobile Achieva from one of those buy here pay here places. I should have known better, but I was young and thought I was getting a good deal. I had the thing for about 5 months, I drove it for maybe 3 weeks. The rest of the time it was either in the shop, or in my driveway waiting until pay day so I could afford to fix whatever broke on it this week. Eventually told the dealer just take it, I'm not paying for it any more. He said nope, and I will make sure your credit is ruined. I said well you sold me a lemon, do you really want to go this route? He came and took it. Never reported anything to credit. I heard he got sued by several other people who sold sh**ty cars too and eventually went out of business."
"Always amazes me when I see them driving around still, I can only assume there's enthusiasts who just love repairing horribly designed cars."
These Redditors were not convinced what they ingested was edible.
"A box of plain Cheerios. Thought they were honey nut, poured a bowl, was very disappointed."
"If I wanted to taste cardboard, I'd just eat the box."
"A burnt frozen pizza at the air and space museum cafe in DC. I Don't wish that experience on anyone. There are some amazing restaurants in DC, don't settle."
The following electronics just gave off a bad charge.
"Asus Transformer Pad TF700"
"This was one of those early 'high end' Android tablets that was grossly underpowered, and it showed. Thing was slow as sh!t in no time flat. Rookie mistake investing into shiny new tech while they were still working all the bugs out. Think I paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $350-400 for it..."
"macbook pro 2018 13" touchbar. 2 years old and dead (battery). they're asking $300-$400 to change the battery. malfunctioning keyboard with double presses and missing presses. that's a lot of money for bad design."
"Past winter my old room heater broke down and I had to buy a new one. Went to a store nearby and somehow got convinced to buy a very costly heating device.. It's also my fault, since there were some sligthly cheaper options around, but nope. I wanted the expensive one thinking it will make my small room a volcano with little to no effort/cost (that's also what the seller told me). Long story short the device wasn't doing ANYTHING. No significant temperature changes, too much space, a weird noise, and was doubling my previous device in utility cost. I still gloom over those 80 euros.."
Some of my disappointing purchases was clothing, but only because I purchased them online. Unless they are a brand I'm familiar with, I'm usually fine with buying new jeans off of their websites.
But when it comes to graphic tees only available on specialty shops, an M-size shirt is not necessarily the same size as those found in other reputable stores.
I bought a medium sized T-shirt from a boutique store online because I loved the look of the design. But when it arrived, the supposed medium fit me like an XL.
At least I gained a fierce cleaning rag from this impulsive purchase.
We all know the job interview butterflies.
We sit outside the office or wait for the phone call and our foot taps at rapid speed. We run through some rehearsed answers, but worry that they'll ask a slew of things we never even considered. We try not to sweat too much.
Often, it turns out alright. We may not get the job, but we're respectable, give solid answers, and learn a lot about the place we're trying to get hired.
Other times, however, all of our far-fetched worries seem to come to life.
Curious to hear just how bad an interview can go, Redditor UIGrimsen asked:
"What was your worst job interview?"
Plenty of people had some truly bizarre stories to share. Part of these train wrecks were bad luck, and part were the insane antics of the people giving the interview.
But for us, they're simply hilarious.
"I applied for a job in a Planetarium, the interview was conducted in a big dome."
"Problem was, another part of the Planetarium staff was doing fire alarm tests during the interview. The dome amplified the sound so much, it was deafening. The interview staff acted like nothing was going on. We had to shout so we could hear each other."
"My mom raises chickens … and during COVID one of them got sick (not COVID). She had it inside to feed water hourly to try to nurse it back to life. My mom has to run an errand so I'm in charge of this chicken for the afternoon."
"I was on a phone screening with a candidate for a position in my office and this chicken starts having a seizure and dies on the middle of this phone call. I look over and it's laying almost like it was crucified."
"The candidate heard the commotion and asked if everything was ok … Which I relied 'yeah, the chicken just died.' "
"She withdrew her application the next morning."
"1.) I walked in as the HR lady farted"
"2.) it was a small office with no windows"
"3.) I asked her questions about their employee retention rate that she couldn't answer"
"4.) the fart stayed the duration of the interview"
"5.) I hope the fart got the job, because I didn't want it"
A Very Instructive Moment
"Applied to work at a vet clinic. Veterinarian did the interview while spaying a cat, apparently one of the cleanest and quickest surgeries they do. I fainted."
"Was not offered the job (after I woke up)."
Others shared moments when their excitement was deflated instantly. They encountered such closed-minded interviewers that there was almost no need for discussion.
That Bus Perk
"As an interviewee It was when I applied to a job as a Junior programmer and in 5 minutes the guys goes 'look, I'll be honest, there is no job, you can get an internship, no pay, we offer the bus pass' "
Plains, Trains, and Automobiles Later...
"I took vacation days to interview, bought my own plane ticket, and paid for my own hotel. First thing the interviewer said was, 'I have no intention of hiring you. This is just a courtesy because I knew your brother.' I had 8 more hours left in my interview day. It was painful."
"They ended up offering me the position many weeks down the road because they couldn't fill the position. I politely declined and got a very passive aggressively worded survey to fill out explaining why I passed."
There's a Right Answer??
"Wanted to work at H&M, got interviewed by the worst person ever."
"One question was and I am legit not lying, 'What is your favorite color and why?' "
"I answered 'baby blue because it's calming and not too harsh to the eyes.' My interviewer then said Oooh, sorry! Red is what we were looking for. And then proceeded to show me the exit."
Last, some shared the times they arrived for the interview excited and enthusiastic, but quickly learned how out of their league the position was.
These interviews looked more like brutal interrogations from the FBI than job interviews.
All the Principals
"Fresh out of college, I was looking for my first teaching job. I applied at a small district for an elementary school position."
"I walked in, expecting the principal and a few teachers. Instead I had the superintendent of the district, some high-level admin, and every single elementary school principal in the district. Probably 15 people in all. They peppered me with questions for 45 minutes."
"I had zero experience, just my student teaching. I did not get the job."
Shove Your Masters
"Finished up a masters degree in physics. Got a phone interview and was was told it would be an introductory chat. Was confronted with a technical interview panel (over the phone) of 6 PhDs, 4 of which had graduated from the research group I had just left. We walked through my research project in about 10 minutes."
"Then the pain began... felt like I'd only learned kindergarten physics."
An Extremely Intimidating Position
"Got an interview for a job as a floor manager at a gigantic steel foundry. I have some background in metallurgy so I thought it'd fit. It paid $90k and I was qualified resume-wise. I got there, turned out it was a group interview with three other applicants, to hear the pitch."
"If something messes up, the company loses $100,000 (some shockingly high amount, I don't remember if it was exactly 100k) per hour and it's your sole responsibility to fix it. They said you'd have to be on call 24/7 to handle anything that comes up."
"I got to the solo part out of curiosity and the interviewer they put me with said something to the effect of 'I know this job sounds bad, but actually it's even worse.' I was desperate for a job because I didn't land one straight out of college, but I was glad not to hear back from them after the interview..."
Here's hoping you don't have a job interview scheduled and this just amplified your anxiety 1000%. The nice thing to remember is that these horror stories are few and far between.
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Believe it or not, Canadians don't live in igloos or freeze to death all year round. If you go to Germany, it's highly unlikely that every German you meet will be cold and uninviting. Hop over to the United Kingdom and you're not going to run into tons of people with terrible teeth and bad hygeine.
These are called stereotypes, my friends, and it's best you leave them at the door. People were more than willing to strike down some stereotypes about the countries they know and love after Redditor HelloThere577 asked the online community,
"What are some false stereotypes about your country?"
"When most folks envision Scotland, they think of kilts, whisky, bagpipes, and red hair.
All of those things exist (and are common) here.
People might also imagine verdant hillsides, rocky bluffs, and skies that randomly switch between clear and cloudy.
Once again, that's completely accurate.
However, one stereotype which has absolutely no foundation, in reality, is the assumption that Scotsmen are constantly hunting haggis. In fact, haggis-hunting only takes place in February (which is the season for deosil haggis) and May (which is the season for widdershins haggis). For the rest of the year, the haggis is more or less left alone."
"I am originally from Portugal and moved to the United States. Around 80% of the people that I have met thought Portugal was either in South America, owned by Brazil, or a part of Spain. When I first came here it made me really sad."
"If the wildlife hurts or kills you in Australia, it's generally because you are f***** stupid. You are 10000 times more likely to be injured or killed in a car accident in Australia than by anything in nature."
This is likely very true, but knowing me, I'd probably be easy pickings for one of those huntsman spiders.
"That we end every sentence with "eh" and drink maple syrup by the gallon and have moose and igloos in our backyards."
You mean... you don't?
Just kidding. Canada is lovely––visit sometime. It's a lovely place.
The United States
"That we always have a shotgun at the ready. A shotgun is a home gun where a pistol is your everyday gun. Your revolver is your dress gun, for special occasions. Then of course your assault rifle is for when you're kicking back and cracking open a cold one with the boys."
"Anything related to The Sound of Music."
Probably gets annoying afer a short while. Great movie, though. Still dreaming about a trip to Salzburg.
"A lot of Americans seem to think we're inbred because we're an island. This is dumb, because it's a very big island (10th biggest in the world), and it's not isolated, we've been invaded, invading, and trading with the mainland for thousands of years."
"That we are car thieves. Crime was widespread in Poland in the 90s but today crime (including theft) rate in Poland is low."
"We do gesticulate a lot, but we definitely don't yell like crazy."
It seems Italian Americans are the ones who could learn a thing or two about being more reserved.
"Iceland. We're not some utopian Disneyland filled with quirky superstitious people that all believe in elves."
Remember: The world is an enormous place filled with people from all walks of life, and they don't take too kindly too stereotypes. Expand your horizons by having conversations with as many people as possible. You'd be surprised how quickly your preconceived notions will vanish.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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