911 Operators Reveal The Vaguest Emergency Call They've Ever Received
Emergency services dispatchers are essential in getting people the help they need in emergencies. Unfortunately, people needing help aren't always great at telling the operator where they are or what they need.
Reddit user u/JD_Kreeper asked:
"911 operators of reddit, what was the most vague call you've ever received?"
Pretty much any time you get a young child calling you know you aren't going to get any information you didn't explicitly ask for. Kids generally understand when help is needed but they don't have the mindset to describe what or why it's needed so you're really just taking various shots in the dark until something sticks that you can piece together. Also, if a kid is calling it's typically a bad situation where for whatever reason there are either no adults around or too incapacitated to call themselves. It is almost always followed up by a call to social services afterwards.
My step dad's fire station once got a call asking whether you should throw salt or sugar on a fire to put it out--I'm not sure if the call was transferred or they'd called the station directly. He asked why and they responded that her and her husband disagreed on it. He asked if they had a fire, and they said well, yes, but they were just wondering which to use. He asked where, and they said "oh, we're just behind the station to the East." He looked over and could see flames rolling out of their kitchen window.
Early in my career I got the "Suspicious male out walking" call. It makes me feel dirty every time I have to enter one of them.
Me: What's suspicious about him?
Caller: Well, he's carrying a flashlight!
Me: ... (looks at clock. It's 2 am) Well ma'am, it IS dark outside.
Caller: Yeah but he's a BLACK man in a hoodie.
Me: Oh (thinking, OHHHhhhhHHHhKAY Karen well that just makes ALL the difference doesn't it?) I'll send someone to do an area check.
Caller: And I know ALL my neighbors and he doesn't belong.
Me: (Sure you do Karen. Buh bye now. ) Yes ma'am. Officers will check the area.
(It was totally her neighbor.)
Just took this one:
"There's a guy here acting weird"
"What do you mean, what's he doing?"
"I don't know, he's just weird.. I don't know the definition of weird"
"Well, what's weird mean to you? It's not illegal to be weird"
"He's looking over his shoulder... He shouldn't be here"
(He's on public property - anyone can be there)
It turned out the guy may have been a crack head but wasn't using or bothering anyone. The caller just didn't want him around.
Not a 911 dispatcher but a taxi dispatcher in an area with a huge drug and alcohol problem.
One night I started getting calls from 'helpful citizens' who were calling a cab for a lady who was wandering around. She had just been beaten to a bloody pulp by her partner and dumped in a rural area. It was about 10pm and she was walking up to strangers houses (think long driveways and lots of forests) pounding on their door until they answered and then asking them to call a cab for her.
Not one of these people thought of calling 911 to get her an ambulance or the police, and they refused to give me their address for a pick up (a large amount of our customers are very secretive of their info, often refusing to give me their name, phone #, address or destination. Vital info when ordering a cab) just telling me the road she was walking around on. I kept telling the helpful homeowners that I couldnt send a cab unless I had an address to pick her up at and all those people just sent this poor lady off into the night looking for more help.
Ever 15-20 min, for about 2 hours, I would get a smiliar call from a diffrent homeowner, telling me how bloody and badly beaten she was, then basically refusing to give me any info. I called the police to tell them what was going on but without a name or address, they couldnt really do much.
I never heard how it turned out. It was a very bad night.
Had a woman on the line who was locked in a bedroom after getting into a physical fight with her boyfriend but had no idea where she was and she was incredibly difficult to understand. I asked her if she was in a home or apartment - she said apartment. I told her to look out the window and tell me what she saw. She said "a red car and a blue car." Not much help there. So, I asked her how many stories the apartment complex had and she said 3. This was obviously not a lot to go on so I finally asked what the last thing she remembers seeing before they pulled into the apartment complex and she said a Target. I knew there was a Target just outside our jurisdiction and a couple of 3 story apartments near there but one in particular that we got called out to regularly, so I dispatched police.
Meanwhile the boyfriend was beating down the door, literally, and was about to get in so I knew it was urgent that we find her immediately. I hoped with all my heart that I sent police to the right place. When my officers pulled on scene, they reported seeing a red and a blue car so I knew we were close but we still didn't know which apartment. The boyfriend was about to burst in the room so she hid under the bed and when he finally broke down the door I told her to run toward the front door and to scream as loud as she could (which we're not really supposed to do because if they get hurt after you give them an order, it can leave the PD liable) but she was frozen and needed help and we needed to find her or at least, maybe someone would hear her scream and call us with an address. He came into the room, she slid out from under the bed and ran to the front door screaming, burst outside and my officers were right there. Turned out the reason she was so difficult to understand was because the bastard had knocked out her teeth.
911 dispatcher in VA here. As far as vague goes probably when a passerby called about a man sitting on a curb looking lonely. No description of the male & no legit location.
Caller: I'm sitting at an intersection here in town and I saw this guy...
Me: Okay sir, did the man appear to be in distress or suspicious in any way? Caller: no I don't think so, but he seemed really lonely.
Me: uhhh... do you want me to send a unit to check his welfare?
Caller: Yes please. I mean it may be nothing or he may be thinking about running into traffic & I think someone should talk to him.
Me: Do you remember where you saw him?
Caller: No, one a curb near my family member's house.
Me: hmmm okay, what's that address?
Caller: gives address
Me: any idea where in relation to the house?
Caller: no, all the streets here look the same. I'm from out of town.
Me: Do you have a description of the male? Is he W/B/H? What he is wearing?
Caller: no, I didn't look at him really, I just drove by & looked lonely...
Me: bashes head against console
Not 911 but Search and Rescue Radio in Alaska. Late one evening in a winter blizzard, i got the call "Coast Guard we are going over" thats it. I never heard from the ship again. I did however find some other helpful souls and background info. After being in the water almost 6 hours in 34f degree water we picked them up. All four lived. One of my most intense nights ever.
ALSKA (1999) The 63 foot steel long line cod fishing vessel Alska capsized in severe weather and sank March 12, 1999 in Hallo Bay on the Alaska Peninsula west of Kodiak Island. A U S Coast Guard Helicopter was able to rescue three of the crewmembers. A fourth was taken aboard the fishing vessel T-Mike. There was no loss of life.
Mapping and Location: South Central Alaska 58 27 N 153 57 W Chart 16580
Additional Information: ON 553667
Sources: 1. Unofficial Shipwreck List (Kodiak), 2. BOEM Alaska Shipwreck List (2011)
It's hard to say, we get vague calls allllll the time and people hardly answer when you call back. Mostly "Send the police"....and that's it. Luckily sometimes people will say "They shot him!" or something along those lines thennn hang up.
No longer a dispatcher, but was for 15 years. I answered a 911 call from a cell phone that only indicated a sector/ direction the call was coming from and the tower that the call was bouncing off of...basically no valid location information. Initially it sounded like a butt dial situation, but I stayed on the line a little longer trying to refresh the call for better location information. As I was listening it sounds like a loud TV and some muffled noises in the background, so I stayed on longer then I would have. I was finally able to narrow the location down to about 3 football fields and searched inhouse records for the phone number...
at this point there was still no communication except in the background.. then I heard what was 1 single clear call for help. I couldn't tell if it was the TV or a person though. I already entered a vague call to check the area and kept updating officers with further info. Eventually we narrowed it down to 1 road that had 1 house surrounded by businesses so officers went to the house. Found that there was a teenage boy and a little brother or sister that were held tied up by parents. I tried to search for the news report but can't recall enough details. Thankfully I didn't give up one the call too soon, and the children where rescued.
When in the beginning stages of dating, it's important to know as much as humanly possible.
The element of surprise is no longer a fun aspect of romance.
Ask the small questions. Ask the hard questions.
Interrogate. Grill. Investigate.
Of course, you should do it with a subtle hand instead of an interrogation lamp.
The truth is all we have.
Redditor RedditPenguin02 wanted to make a list of the best inquiries to make when starting a relationship, so they asked:
"What is a good question to ask before you start dating someone?"
From what I've learned in my past, always ask... "Are you into Buffy the Vampire Slayer? The TV show."
If it's a no, then it's a dealbreaker.
I DoShocked Schitts Creek GIF by CBCGiphy
"Are you married?"
"I would ask that. If they said no, the next question was 'Would your wife agree?'"
"If they laughed, they were telling the truth. If they got indignant and pissed off that I thought they were lying…they were married."
"Worked every time."
"Do you clap when the plane lands?"
"I swear people used to do this all the time when I was a kid (early 2000’s), and I don’t think I’ve heard anyone do it in 5+ years. I guess 9/11 really made people afraid of flying for about 10 years and then most folks decided they didn’t need to applaud when the plane landed safely?"
"Do you want kids in the future? If one person wants kids and the other wants to stay child-free, then they are not compatible. And it is better to try dating someone else."
"It confuses me whenever some couples who disagree on this end up in a conundrum because one expected the other to change their mind. This is something I bring up early cause I see no future with someone who wants kids when I do not."
"You should always put childfree on your dating profile. It's not a small thing. Either you agree on it or not. If I had to date, I would put childfree on my profile too."
Carb it on...
"Do you like bread? That is the extent of my flirting skills."
"Being German, bread is like a frickin' cultural phenomenon here, we have around 300 kinds of bread, there's a bread museum, every time I go on vacation I'm like yeah it's nice here but the bread ain't it yall, never as good as home lol. So yeah, valid question and the only answer to this is an enthusiastic yes."
Room TemperatureFrosty The Snowman Winter GIF by filmeditorGiphy
"What temperature do you set the thermostat to throughout the year?"
"Haha this one always gets me as someone who needs low temps - you can always put on more clothes, I can't peel my skin off to get cooler."
The thermostat is a dealbreaker for me.
It's gonna be 60. Love it or move on.
DiscoveryBlown Away Wow GIF by AminéGiphy
"When was the last time you changed your mind about something?
"Opens a window to how they think."
"If that was really early on in the dating I’d think it was a bit of a head-f**k question. I’d probably find that question a red flag, tone dependent, although I agree with the sentiment."
"Aside from major differences about finances, kids, politics, or religion, a big one is; What are your hobbies? If they don’t really have any, you may be the next hobby, which isn’t going to work unless you’ve got that kind of time. If the hobbies are time-consuming ones generally done with a SO."
"But you have no interest in them, that could be an issue as well. If only one of you likes camping, wanted to spend vacation lounging instead of exploring, didn’t like sports, etc either that partner is annoyed or the other feels like they don’t get to enjoy what they love."
"Ask them about their exes. If they think every single one of them is an a**hole... they are likely the real a**hole."
"I have mixed feelings about that - I've been in three previous relationships and all three were emotionally abusive towards me (one wasn't nearly as bad as the other two, though) in various ways. I know this is a common sentiment and it always makes me afraid that people won't believe me or something.
"I mean, I realize in your comment you said 'likely' and not '100% sure' and there's plenty of room for nuance."
"I would try to take care of any dealbreakers. If I find out that she has different political values than I do, it's not going to work out in the long run, so I wouldn't bother. Same thing with other factors (religion, financial values, etc.). I would also ask how much cuddling she likes to engage in, as I prefer a lot."
EssentialsTell Me More To Do List GIF by Disney ChannelGiphy
"When I was dating my three essential questions were always kids, sex, and money. If you're not on the same wavelength for any of those three things, just don't even try."
"So, how much personal debt do you have?"
"Source: the guy who dated a woman with huge debts and was asked to pay for everything and then some".
"After that, I'd go with, 'Have you ever been diagnosed with borderline, narcissistic, or histrionic personality disorders?"
The questions are basic.
Just ask for the truth.
Do you have any good Qs to add to the queue? Let us know in the comments below.
As much as we always hop for our dating efforts to be worth it and for every relationship to work out, we all know that some relationships are not destined to work out.
But sometimes relationships end for totally valid reasons, and sometimes the reasons are painful, if not devastating.
Redditor overIorded asked:
"What went wrong with your last partner?"
History Repeating Itself
"He cheated on me. And I was glad because that was finally reason enough to allow myself to leave."
"Now I know somebody who's in the same situation. They're trapped. And she's such a gentle and fun person who's afraid to leave him because 'well, it's always been like this, I'm used to it,' and 'I deserve it.'"
"She wants to leave him, she knows she should leave him, but it's so hard to do it, and I know that feeling."
"I'm thinking I should give her my phone number like when the day comes you've had enough, I'll gladly come to help you move out from that s**thole."
Mental Health Struggles
"I'm lost in my own trauma and mental illness and he deserves better than anything I have to offer right now."
"I’ve been on the receiving end of this, and mildly said, it absolutely ruined me. Her trauma and mental problems were BAD, but I still wanted to be with them. So if you ask me, as long as they can give you the space and support you need, and want to be with you, let them make the decision."
"It's also fair and mature to care very much about someone but realize that you only have the emotional bandwidth to take care of yourself right now."
"I'm sure it was very hard for both of you to come to terms with that decision. I don't think it's that he deserves better, I think it's that your attention needs to be on guiding yourself through this thicket of trauma and mental illness before you can be someone else's partner. You can love each other very much but also acknowledge that you don't have the tools to spare for a relationship right now."
"I'm proud of you for focusing on your own mental health and someday, when you have more emotional stability and energy, I hope you find a wonderful partner."
"We disagreed on how many women he was allowed to date. I’m very strong on monogamy and have no interest in someone (in a supposedly committed relationship) that isn’t."
At Least There's That
"Her psychotic brother tried to kill me. Thankfully he has a Stormtrooper's aim..."
"Hate the attempted murder, love the 'Star Wars' reference."
"He wanted a big family, like, six kids, all-natural. Obviously, he wouldn't be birthing them. This was very important to him while I was pretty ambivalent about kids, and the further into my adulthood I've gotten, the more I've realized I just don't want to be pregnant."
"I broke it off so we could both get the lives we wanted. He was also quite a bit more conservative than me, and at the time closeted pansexual person, and some stuff he believed just didn't line up with what I believed. It hurt, but it was amicable."
"Now he has a wife and kids like he wanted, and I am happily partnered and childfree. It worked out for the best."
"She hated that I had a healthy relationship with my family and was trying to find ways to sabotage it."
"Similar aspect to mine, she hated my sister and mother because she had a bad relationship with her sister and mother. She would get mad at me whenever I brought my family up."
"My last boyfriend dumped me because I got mad that he was coming to Dallas after I hadn't seen him for two months, but didn't want to see me."
"He was going to meet up with some friends of his he hadn't seen in a few months. I told him that was fine with me, but I felt he should make time to see me too since we hadn't seen each other in two months and we were supposed to be a couple."
"He responded to my anger by ghosting me. That was two years ago."
Distracted with a Punch
"A girl contacted me about him talking to her. I asked him what was going on, and he sucker-punched me in the face."
"He cheated on me for all six years we were together and then accused me of cheating on him, even though I wasn't allowed to leave the house."
"I'm also pretty sure he slept with my sister-in-law when my brother and I went to pick up dinner."
Children Come First
"He was and still is no father to his kids, has anger issues, and probably has other mental health issues. I tried for years to help him and help the relationship, but he wasn't having it. After seeing how my oldest suffered under him, I had to leave."
"I communicated how I felt about many things in the relationship. He never communicated about anything."
"Oh look, it's the last 14 years of my life..."
"I'm guilty of this, and boy, do I regret not being able to open up about my feelings. It cost me my marriage. But now I'm trying to be more open and share my thoughts and feelings. Just wished I could've done this earlier than later."
"I started drinking again and became a miserable a**hole due to my own depression and my s**tty job. As such, she didn't get the attention she deserved, and had to put up with my s**tty mood all the time... so she left. I don't blame her."
"So, it was me. I don't know if I trust myself with a relationship again, but aside from the shame of knowing I hurt someone who I loved, and loved me back, but I was too self-absorbed and selfish, I am trying to be a better human to everyone."
"And to my ex: You'll find someone again... someone better."
"He wanted to move to Alaska to be with some girl he was 'friends' with before me."
"My ex's early-onset Alzheimers (at the age of 50) and the resulting violence, paranoia, and irrational thinking. I tried to honor my vows, but he was so far out there, I feared for my life."
Different Definitions of Marriage
"She cheated on me after five years total together, the last one of which was while we were engaged. She cheated on me for months, all while I was planning the wedding, working part-time, and going to graduate school so I can support us comfortably in the future."
"I planned on giving her everything I could and sharing the rest of my life with her, and apparently she didn’t care."
This conversation just goes to show that relationships can end for all kinds of reasons. Even in relationships where there is still a lot of love and committment, the relationship can still end, just like how the relationship can end suddenly because of a surprising and devastating realization.
We all had our aspirations about becoming a certain type of person or accomplishing different goals when looking towards the future.
But the goals we have for ourselves can drastically change once we're adults, and that's partly due to the influence of different life experiences.
Sometimes, despite our best intentions and respective strategies to achieve something by a certain age, we can never imagine experiencing different outcomes.
Curious to hear from strangers online who never saw themselves in their current positions in life, Redditor graces-taylor12 asked:
"What about becoming an adult caught you completely off guard?"
The following Redditors were not ready to process the inevitable when it came to their parents.
A Role Reversal
"Watching your parents becoming old and frail."
"Dealing with this yesterday and it is an eye-opener. Its hard seeing someone you’ve known as a pillar of strength for 30+ years in a position of such weakness, and knowing that he might improve but generally the decline is coming."
"I've had a weird atypical experience. My dad was pretty old when I was born and always had a bad knee he could never afford to get fixed. He could barely walk and has never been able to run since I could remember. It got so bad that he couldn't even walk up or down the stairs in our house."
"Well he eventually got a knee replacement and he's now more agile at 73 than he was at 53. It's weird to see."
"I'll never forget when I first realized how frail they actually were. I went over to their house to help out with some chores, and they couldn't even clean out any of the pens by themselves. They ended up selling most of their animals that year because they couldn't look after them."
Life Can Be Cruel
"It’s slowly beginning with my parents, small hints here and there, they’re in their mid 50s.The big freak out for me has been watching my grandparents slowly declining over the last 3ish years. One set of grandparents have been gone since I was a kid, so these two are all I’ve got now. My Pap’s arthritis and sciatica is to the point now where it’s a process for him just to stand up. 2020 I saved him from a fall, if I wasn’t there to catch him, he would’ve easily been in the hospital for quite a while. That was the first 'Oh sh*t, he’s not immortal' moment."
These Redditors discovered older doesn't always mean wiser.
"I can do whatever the f'k I want. But I don't really want to do anything..."
"Yup, the idea of doing whatever you want as an adult was the biggest scam cartoons sold us."
"Yeah, you can do anything you want but you're gonna need money. So you get a job, there goes most of your day to your job."
"So now you have money but that'll go to bills first and by the time you can do what you want you don't have the energy or funds. Then the loop continues.."
Fake It Til You Make It
"How clueless other adults are. I really thought adults had their sh*t in order while in reality most people are winging it."
"Maturity is a skill. Some people learn it quickly. Others never do."
"Children are limited by their youth. Their brains aren't fully developed. But adults are not guaranteed to get more mature without working for it."
"Some people never grow up. They just get old."
"I'm surprised by the amount of people who genuinely couldn't live by themselves if they had to. They somehow never learned basic life skills like simple cooking or cleaning and always had someone else to do it for them."
People became more aware of time.
Not Enough Me Time
"How little free time you have. You have to work, you have to prepare for work, drive to work, drive home from work. You also have to do household chores. You have to take care of kids if you have some. When do I get to enjoy my hobbies?"
Point Of Exhaustion
"Most of the time I'm so tired from the day, I just don't have the mental capacity to do anything but go right to bed and watch tv ;_;"
Never Going Back
"Transitioning from college student + part time worker to full time worker I gained a bunch of time back. I was shocked that I could just decide to do laundry tomorrow if I didn't feel like it. Every evening I had this huge chunk of time that was just open."
"But then, moving from an apartment to a house, now there's a bunch more chores to do. Then introducing kids, now there's all that. But still, I wouldn't go back to the hectic college life."
"How it just goes on endlessly."
"When you're a kid, there's a summer break every year, and a new school to go to in a couple of years. Whatever part of your life you are in is clearly delimited and there is something new to look forward to after it."
"Once you're an adult, it's just 5 days of work and 2 days of weekend over and over and over until you die."
After having a decent, long run in the entertainment business as a dancer, I've long held the belief I was invincible.
I was physically stronger, more agile, and foolish enough to think I could perpetually live in such a state.
All of a sudden, reality smacked me in the face one morning when I woke up and heard and felt various parts of my body crackle and pop like when milk hits a bowl of Rice Krispies.
My tired body had the audacity to inform me:
"Not today and from this day forward."
We're currently not on speaking terms.
Not much good can come from dwelling on the past.
Even so, no matter how hard we try to avoid doing so, we can't help but look back on things we've done in our lives which we regret.
In some cases, it's nothing which had any sort of lasting effect, like wishing we thought more carefully about where we had a birthday or spending more than we could afford on an outfit that didn't end up paying off.
In sadder cases though, we often wonder what our lives might have been like if he had made a different, and smarter decision.
If we didn't say certain things to certain people, not spoken up when someone needed us to or rushed too hastily into a life we weren't ready for.
"What is one thing you regret doing in life?"
Giving People Attention Who Didn't Deserve It
"Wasting time worrying about people that never spared me a single thought."- Eborys
Getting In With The Wrong Crowd
"I regret making friends with people who I knew were bad for me just because it was easier than becoming friends with good people."
"Now I don't have many solid friends."- misswallflowerr
Staying In, When They Should Have Gotten Out
"Not ending bad/unhealthy/unfulfilling relationships sooner."- Superseriouslyguys
"Hanging on to a relationship for too long."
"I should have up and disappeared the first time he was disrespectful."- Mirrorflute88
Not Taking Enough Risks
"Not putting myself out there enough."
"I probably missed out on a lot of opportunities because I'm so self-conscious."
"Working on this though!"- Fife_Flyer
"Not following my dreams and ended up sitting behind a desk for 30 years."
"Of course, I'm currently on Reddit sitting behind my desk."
"So, there's that."- CatOnTheHill
"Overthinking my way out of potentially rewarding choices."- mmmmike1590
Rushing Into Things
"Going to college before I had the slightest idea what I wanted to do with my life."- Mysterious_Shake2894
Taking Things For Granted
"Not spending more time with my mom."
"I visited her 2-3 times a week but still, there were other times she'd call and I'd ignore the call or tell her I didn't have time to talk."
"Would give anything to go back and take every one of those calls."- Fruitjustlistens
Putting Their Health At Risk
"Most of 2019–addiction bottom."
"Sober now for 432 days and counting."- CommunicationTop5231
"20 years spent on expensive, self-fed poison."
"Biggest regret of my life, by far."- Itsprobablysarcasm
"Mentally exhausting myself at work for companies that turned out to not give a sh*t about me or value my work."- fpuni107
"Being too nice to tell undeserving people to f*ck off when I should've been putting myself first."
"Lessons learned."- MrsHppy
Not Having Enough Fun
"So, this is gonna sound kinda dumb, but I kinda wish I had acted out a bit more."
"Taken more risks, gotten in trouble more, explored and pushed my boundaries."
"I was pretty sheltered growing up and really wanted to be this good person."
"It created a lot of conflicting feelings for me."
"It also contributed to me avoiding doing some stuff cause I thought it'd be bad for me."
"Now that I'm older and worked through some of those issues, I feel like I missed out on a lot of stuff other people got in their teens and 20s."
"I'm now at a point where I'm exploring that, but most people my age have already gone through it."
"I just feel like I'm trying to 'catch up' with everybody."- animewhitewolf
It's only human to look back on things we regret, or wish we had done differently.
But living in the past will only keep us in the past.
The only way to move forward and make progress is to accept the present for what it is: a present.