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.
The best-written characters are the ones with complex origins stemming from violent histories and broken families.
Villains are often misunderstood and eventually snap when they reach a breaking point after constant ridicule and mockery.
For them, the only way out of an unfortunate situation or deep despair is to take matters into their own hands – at all costs.
To have a nemesis who is just evil in nature and exists for the sake of providing conflict for the protagonist is just lazy writing.
But to have someone you can actually relate to and understand their motives – regardless of their violent methods – is more compelling to watch.
"What villain do you actually agree with/get?"
Comic book villains did not always start off with evil intentions.
"I don't agree with Magneto, but I understand why he would feel the way he does."
"I have the most sympathy for this villain."
A Flawed Perfectionist
"Dr. Doom. He saw all possible futures and the only one that didn't end in humankind dying out was him ruling the world iirc."
"Mr. Freeze, now that Batman: The Animated Series has given him a legitimate backstory. Look, if you're a scientist and your wife is suffering from a rare condition, but you know you can save her if you just have more time, doesn't it make sense to put the love of your life in suspended animation while you do everything imaginable to save her?"
Anyone is capable of giving in to the darkness, especially like these characters who were dealt with unfortunate circumstances.
Sucks Being Widowed
"Dracula in Castlevania. They killed his wife and he said they had a year to get out. It's on them for murder and not believing a murderous vampire."
"Baby Doll from the animated Batman series."
"The way her entire life is ruined based solely on her physical appearance. Her career and relationship with Killer Croc in particular, but the way you can clearly see the mental effects of looking permanently like a child."
Kung-Fu Panda Antagonist
"All he wanted was to impress his adopted father."
": You knew I was the Dragon Warrior! You always knew! But when Oogway said otherwise, what did you do? What did you do? NOTHING!"
"Shifu : You were not meant to be the Dragon Warrior! That was not my fault!"
"Tai Lung : Not your fault? Who filled my head with dreams? Who drove me to train until my bones cracked? Who denied me my destiny?"
"Sandman in Spider-Man 3. There's little I wouldn't do for my kid."
These mean toons have a likeable quality in spite of their nefarious tendencies.
That "Phineas and Ferb" Scientiest
"Dr Doofenshmirtz - come on man, those inventions are awesome!"
"It's his parents who are the real villains."
The Powerpuff Girls' Tetartagonist
"My man was straight up abandoned"
"There's an episode where he actually wins and when he finally rules the world he... Archive the world peace, reverse the climate change, and things like that. So yeah, totally agree with Mojo."
The Mean One
"The Grinch; he just wanted his annoying neighbors to not play their loud holiday music at the crack of dawn."
"The Grinch didn't hate Christmas. He hated people. I think we can all get behind that."
Not So Despicable
"Gru from Despicable Me."
"I too, dream of stealing the moon."
"I might put it back, I might not. Haven't decided yet."
Redditors found a vast number of wicked characters who possess motives they agree with to excuse for their bad deeds.
We all have suffered challenges and obstacles – some we never overcome – but we don't necessarily go on a killing spree because of unresolved issues.
Maybe that's why some of these villains resonate with us on various levels.
Watching these misunderstood or wronged characters wreak havoc on society could be a manifestation of something hopefully most of us aren't inclined to do but feel a sense of satisfaction after watching destruction take place in worlds of fantasy.
The human body may be responsible for providing us with animated life and the unique wonders of human consciousness, but that doesn't mean we know what the heck is going on in there.
In fact, so many of the human body's inner workings are unknown to us who own and use that complicated apparatus every moment of every day.
We have, of course, made some real strides in understanding those inner workings over the last couple thousand years. We may have plenty more to learn, but at least we have a general lay of the land.
Curious to learn about the lesser known-processes of our complex physical selves, Redditor Zenssei asked:
"What is a fact about the human body that not many people know about?"
For complexity, look no further than the human brain. Redditors had no shortage of facts and tidbits about that one-of-a-kind organ.
"Most reflexes never make it to your brain. The sensory aspect travels to the spinal cord and the spinal cord itself sends the muscle movement signals to your limbs."
Keep On Kicking
"Your brain continues to try to revive the body long after the heart has stopped. In some cases 30 hours later there has been found brain activity trying to make repairs to bring the body back."
"This is used to indicate time of death in murder victims."
Filling In the Gaps
"Your brain likes stimulation, if it doesn't get any it will make some up, some people are more susceptible to it then others, the colors you see before you fall asleep are a common mild occurrence..."
"...there are several classes of these hallucinations, closed-eye visuals, which are caused by leaving your eyes closed for a long time, hypnagogia, which is caused by the onset of sleep, prisoners cinema, which is caused by looking into a dark place for a long time, ganzfeld effect, which is caused by blocking out all external stimuli, and Charles bonnet syndrome, caused by sight loss."
"Most are these are simple phosphenes but some can be whole imagined scenes, or more abstract fractal-like imagery"
Others reminded us that not all bodies are the same. They pointed out the anomalies that some people experience, but on average do not describe the typical human body.
"Apparently about 20% of people have a bony ridge on the roof of their mouth. Most people's pallettes are smooth with a very slight ridge."
"The 20% like me have an exaggerated and more pronounced ridge. Apparently it's most common in women and Asian folk, and I'm neither so that's neat. I always thought it was totally normal."
A Reason Not to Move
"People who live in 'extreme' conditions for generations adapt in extreme ways. For example people that live in high elevations often have larger lungs and different blood makeup."
"Or my favorite is the Bajau people that live on the water and spend a lot of their time diving, their spleens have become 50% larger in order to store more blood."
"I drunkenly tripped off the curb and into the road after a Halloween party in college. Turns out I broke off a piece of my elbow that night."
"It ended up getting encased in what ever the human body used to trap floating bone chunks in. Now I've got a chunk of bone gift wrapped by my own body's wrapping paper floating around, right against where it broke off from." -- Tur8z
And others felt the thread was a good place to share the truly bizarre, random facts they knew about the body. Read a few of these and you'll realize just what a mystery it all is.
Shake It In to Place
"When doing surgery were the doctors have to take out some organs, when placing them back, they dont have to be put back In the exact position there meant to be, your body kind of just, moves the organs into the correct position after the surgery"
"There are tiny cilia that spin in a certain direction. If they spin in the opposite direction while you're developing in the womb early on, that is how you get organs transposed onto the opposite side of your body."
"Your stomach is surrounded by more brain cells (half a billion neurons) than the brain of a cat contains in total."
"It's your enteric nervous system. It controls digestion, operates autonomously, has its own memory, can handle its own reflexes, it has its own senses even."
"It's thought to have come about because of the blood-brain barrier and the main brain being locked away in the skull, a spinal column and nerves away from the critical action of nutrition."
"Your eyes have a separate immune system from the rest of your body and in a lot of occasions if your body's immune system finds your eyes, they will assume they are a foreign body and blind you."
So next time you think you have a good idea of all that's going on under the hood, just remember that whole layer of microscopic processes that seem to be playing by their own rules entirely.
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Priceless, collectible objects fall into the hands of people in a variety of ways.
Some are serious, hard-working hobbyists. They search online forums, peruse antique sales, and budget a good amount of cash toward collecting one-of-a-kind items.
But others come into possession of truly rare objects almost by accident. They might not have known what they were buying, they could have received the item as an heirloom.
Either way, having just one rarity can be an exciting conversation piece.
Apparently eager to know what's out there, encased in glass somewhere, Redditor Sheeppower4 asked:
"What is the rarest thing you own?"
Many people's rare objects were historical in nature. They were old, they illustrated a moment of history, and they derived their value from remaining intact so many years later.
"16 century English Knight armour. It's a family heirloom." -- VinnyColdheart
"I imagine seeing that thing on Pawn Stars. 'Well, It's not exactly Century XVI; It's from 1601, and It has a scratch here and there, like if someone had hit it with a sharp object, I don't know. Anyway, all I can do is 50 bucks. And I'm risking here' " -- V02D
An Artifact of a Dark Time
"I don't really own this, but I am caretaker of a ring. During WW2 my Grandfather owned a tailors shop in Holland. A Jewish neighbor found out he was about to be taken, came into the shop, and gave him a few things, asking him to look after them, saying he would return after the war."
"He never came. I have his mourning ring, which has a lock of hair and a pearl, surrounded by diamonds. I did take it to a jeweler once, to see if the lock of hair could have some DNA, but he said it was too delicate to tamper with."
"My brother was a teacher, and now my daughter is. They have both used the ring to teach of the Holocaust. I think the ring has made it real for many children."
Wrong Coffin to Open
"I have an odd old handle from a coffin which dates back to a satanist from around 1800." -- BeyondContextual
"Imagine being the guy that was holding one of the handles and that sh** just snaps off, body falls out" -- AydenH5
"You fool! They don't die if there's no handle! Now there's a fekin Satanist roaming around somewhere looking for sacrifices!" -- Super_monkey_box
Other people were all about the autographs.
Whether it was them or a loved one, some hard work and good timing allowed them to take home a very valuable proof that they rubbed shoulders with some seriously influential figures.
Concert of a Lifetime
"My dad is retired from the NYPD. He was one of a bunch of officers escorting the Beatles to the stage when they played Shea Stadium. He got all their signatures in his ticket book. Ringo signed his name by drawing a star only."
"The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame offered him $500k for it and he refused."
"When my dad died a few years ago, it was passed on to me."
"I will never sell it."
"A baseball with both Babe Ruth & Joe DiMagio signatures." -- Dendad1218
"Passed down to you?" -- Cubsfan630
"Yes, actually it is a family thing. Joe was family. It is very sun damaged." -- Dendad1218
"A Thor print signed by Stan Lee, to me."
"My wife got it for me at one of his final appearances. He wasn't doing personalizations, but she talked him into it."
The Cast that Made It
"I've got a Star Wars poster with Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew, and Carrie Fisher's autograph on it, along with a handful of other original Star Wars trilogy characters"
And others shared the rarities that showed a little bit more of their own personality. Some were seeked out, some were only saved thanks to a little shameless fanhood.
"A custom go board that is truly unique. The lines are made of darker wood inlaid to the lighter wood, not ink. This board will never warp. The whole thing is super high quality. It was a commissioned work, and the guy said he would never make another one (yes he was well paid)."
"It's something a go player immediately appreciates. As far as I am concerned, I own the best table board on the planet."
Well Cared For
"A official 1962 amazing fantasy no 15 (the first appearance from spider man) it was given to me by my late grandpa I have it in a air sealed package in a small safe being a painting in my room it is my most prized possession"
Rare and Phallic
"A Little Mermaid VHS cover with a penis tower" -- Tylorexy
"That's not rare, though, is it? I had the same thing as a kid."
"I remember trying to find the penis tower as a 10yo girl who didn't really know what a penis looked like. I found it because it was suspiciously not tower-like, but without first hand knowledge I couldn't be sure that was the one." -- Okoreala
"It is and it isn't."
"Plenty of copies with that case were made, but IIRC they redid the vhs cover at some point, so there were two variants floating around. On top of that, vhs not really being a thing anymore makes it difficult to find a copy with the di*k tower on it." -- brycejm1991
Unfortunately, we can't all be so lucky to have such cool and interesting prized possessions.
My rarest possession, for example, is that dorky U.S. map quarter collection.
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Why are humans so stupid? Why weren't we created with automatic genius? Or at the very least, our own how-to manual.
Can you imagine? A how-to use manual for each individual. Lord, the amount of wasted time saved.
I can openly admit I should come with a manual. And I am also someone who often doesn't understand manuals, so I thank designers for fool proofing some necessities for me. Though I'm not as bad as some.
Redditor u/SugarCookieBear wanted to know what things we use that were designed to bypass our basic abilities to be... idiots, by asking:
Engineers of Reddit, what's the most ridiculous idiot-proofing you've had to add in your never-ending quest to combat stupid people?
I'm intrigued to discover how and when designers and engineers realize that what they are crafting needs to come with extra detail, for the lame crowd. And by the crowd, I mean society as a whole. Let's face it, we need help.
No Eat!GIF by VH1Giphy
"A paragraph in an owners' manual on not eating the broken glass from binoculars."
Don't Drink Up
"Wife is a civil engineer. The one that came to mind for her was that she had to add to the specification of a construction contract that stated that workers would not drink the water that accumulated at the bottom of an excavation."
"We had a pedestrian bridge next to a bridge for vehicles, separated by about a 3ft gap. The bridges were about 20ft high over the water. So many drunk pedestrians climbed over the rails and tried to jump between bridges and didn't make it that I was directed to design a safety net to hang between the two bridges."
"I work in facilities maintenance. Someone put in a ticket for a malfunctioned computer on wheels and I found the power cord was frayed. Not my gear so all I can really do is set it aside and have the biomed techs fix it."
"I put a zip-tie through the holes in the prongs of the plug, put 2 nitrile glove on the plug, zip tied the gloves in place, and wrapped up the gloves with duct tape. I got a sheet of printer paper and wrote "inoperative. do not use. do not plug in" and taped it to the monitor."
"Couple hours later I get a ticket for another COW with frayed power cord sparking. It turned out to be the same cart and one of the nurses cut the end of the gloves off, cut the zip tie in the end of the plug, and plugged it in and it arced and tripped a breaker because of the frayed power cord."
Can't Resist!canadian wtf GIF by CBCGiphy
"I was asked to make a hydraulic oil pump nozzle 'drink proof'."
"That's a fools errand, the best you can hope for is "drink resistant".
Ok. Some of those items make me concerned for surviving life. Who eats glass? I've seen some things in the world, but that would definitely be a first and hopefully last. I shudder to continue.
Roadblocks...water satisfying GIFGiphy
"Civil engineer here. While laying asphalt usually we close the road and cover using barricade tapes. But no matter his hard we try people always find ways to go through and ruin the whole process. Ultimately we had to use security to block the roads."
Don't go THERE!!!
"Chemical engineer. Please do not poop in the test room. I wish I was joking, but it happened!"
"My cousin is a chemical engineer. For weeks they had contaminants in their product. I forget exactly what fixes they tried, but they eventually found out via security cams that one of the night shift maintenance workers was peeing into one of the chemical vats."
"I work on cars, so almost everything is designed around protecting people. My favorite is that we have to make the Hvac system louder and engine noise insulation worse because people will complain if they can't hear the systems running. We could make almost silent air ducts, but our warranty spend would go up."
Not a Hammer
"I'm a mech E intern, I walked in on my manager discussing a design with another engineer, all I heard was "so the guys will probably use that as a hammer so I made it out of this stronger material" "when they're working they will probably be throwing this small door open so I used stronger hinges and added a stop"
"It's things like this that I really appreciate about my internship, I likely wouldn't have thought about that myself."
On the 5th...Big Boi Smh GIF by OutkastGiphy
"Application Engineer here: When handling a 3D Laserscanner, it has to be placed and fixed on a stable tripod."
"A flat rail of a balcony is not a suitable substitute for it. And no, the insurance has not covered the total loss of the device after it felt from the 5th floor to the concrete pavement."
Y'all, does common sense no longer exist. Thankfully these people have the forethought to plan ahead. They are saving us, one idea at a time.
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