Emergency operators face the unthinkable every day - even live suicides and murder which they hear over the phone. Some wish they could forget, but many can't.
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
Seems like something you'd want to forget.
I heard a homicide / Suicide in real time. Guy wanted to get help for his suicidal son, and the son came out of the bedroom with a gun and shot the dad and then himself.
A preschool-aged boy with the most precious little voice telling me his daddy wasn't moving. He didn't know his address, only that he lived in a house with a green door. During the time it took to find where he was at and send help, he was telling me about his morning - his dad had told him to get his shoes on because it was 'take your child to work' day. He came back from putting on his shoes and found his dad on the bathroom floor. He was so brave and so helpful answering my questions. Turns out that Dad had overdosed and passed away.
I have a daughter that was the same age as the little boy when I took that call so it hit extra hard.
Man oh man.
We had a call from a guy who simply said:
"My address is XXXXX and I'm going to kill myself"
Then a loud gunshot. Then silence.
He just wanted someone to find his body.
Ex 000 operator (Australia's version of 911).
One of the funniest ones I had was someone drunk off their face stumbling on and off the streets while wearing a Spongebob Square Pants costume.
Final Destination situation.
Friend was an EMT for many years. He was on scene at an accident where a low-slung sports car went off the highway, into an embankment and up again. Long story short, the car hit into the "cable barriers" that are along the sides of the highway in some spots. The driver hit it at such a high rate of speed, the cable decapitated him. My friend had to go find the head (which ended up being about 50' away from the crash site).
Not much got to him in that job, but that one did...
Oh she quit, you don't say.
My cousin had to listen to her dad shoot himself. She was a 911 dispatcher and he stayed on the line (and didn't know it was her) and she heard him shoot himself. Then she had to go and identify the body since it was so bad. She quit after that.
Lots of what you think: nasty CPR calls, bad wrecks, shootings, stabbings, fires (though as bad as it sounds those are the most fun for multiple reasons)
For some reason I'll never forget this call was when this chick's boyfriend just walked up to her car at a stop sign and unloaded all 6 shots of a .22 revolver into her window. She was so confused as to why he did it. Luckily her wounds weren't bad she only had some small holes in her arm and shoulder. The worst part was she just wouldn't talk to the cops. This guy tried to kill her and she wouldn't talk to them because "I love him, I ain't snitching". We got her to the hospital and we we're getting info from her she listed him (name, address, and phone #) as her contact. The cop who came to get her info and return her purse was writing as fast as he could. He (the boyfriend) got caught by the SWAT team. I think he's awaiting trial, it was a really busy night after that.
That reminds me of a call my husband did (EMT). They had a call for a woman with an altered state. They arrive, and she's in her underwear, speaking gibberish. She had thick, curly hair. While Husband and his partner were checking her out, they looked in her hair and found something. Brain matter. The boyfriend who called had been cleaning his gun and shot her in the head by accident. She lived, and, as far as Husband knows, is healthy. I think the boyfriend went to jail for a bit.
Paramedic and dispatcher. 100% the lady who woke up in the middle of the night to her house full of smoke. Ran into garage to find husband fully engulfed. Fell smoking a cigarette and couldn't get back up. Dude was strait up seared into the ground. When we moved the body it looked like the bottom of the frying pan when you burn something. Smelled foul.
Pay your bills.
I've mentioned this elsewhere, but I took a call from a woman whose husband went out to the corner shop and came back a few minutes later on fire. He owed a lot of money apparently, and the loan shark had got sick of waiting.
Dead babies, abusive people, suicides, homicides, sexual assaults. One twisted sack of garbage who's partner killed her child so she called 911 with a very obvious lie. He then got out of jail and beat another woman's child almost to death.
All calls are unforgettable. Everyone has their problems. This job is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. We cry a lot.
Source: am 911
I am 23 years old currently and was working in 911 dispatch earlier this year. However, when I was 14 we lost a class mate who was playing in the river with his friends in the local river. There was a spot where one could swim under some quarry rocks and come up into an air pocket. He went down with his friends but never came back up. His body washed down the river and was found 1 mile downriver by some guy walking his dog. They showed me a lot of sample calls in my job and I will never forget the one from that day that boy drowned where I could hear my friend approach a woman and ask her if he could call 911 (back then we didn't all have cellphones) and when she allowed him to call the dispatch people sounded so bitchy and annoyed.. they questioned him where he was and wouldn't hear him explain (very panicked) what happened but he was just 14, he had no way to describe where he was other than "spot on the river everyone goes to" and he got more and more frustrated until he said "F*ck this!" And ran toward the river again to try to find his friend.... Another call I won't forget was a father calling in at 8 A.M. to report his one month old baby had passed away in it's sleep (likely SIDS). The man called, calm as can be, said "My baby is dead." And set the phone down and you could just hear him breathing while the dispatcher freaked out and kept asking if he wanted to try CPR.
Went to a house fire a few months ago with reports of someone still inside. By the time we got there, the house was nearly fully involved and live ammunition was going off, which made entry impossible. Once the fire had been knocked back, we began searching. I was digging through a tangled mess of burned structural components and furnishings, kind of walking/crawling over things trying to find the victim. Dirt and soot kept covering my mask, making visibility low. I reached out and felt something that felt a little different, almost spongy. I looked down and saw a pinkish colored "thing" that did not resemble a body at all. At this point, I was practically on top of it, and I was feeling all over trying to decide what it was. My face was about six inches from it since visibility was a challenge. I suddenly saw teeth and a necklace, then I knew what it was. The arms were gone, and I'm not sure if the legs were gone or just buried under something. Turns out intestines are moist enough that they sometimes stay somewhat intact, and that's what I had been putting my hands into.
When you're done, you're done.
When I was a coastguard officer part of my job was answering emergency phone calls from the public- in my day the coastguard worked differently from the other emergency services: incident commanders and the people answering the 'phones were the same folk.
You could be the dude in command of a SAR operation involving dozens of ships and aircraft in the morning and after lunch you'd be taking a call from a concerned tourist from London who's never seen a seal having a nap before and wants to put it back in the water.
It was weird, but it was great.
I remember with absolute clarity a great many of the calls I took, including the one where I realised that ten years was enough and I couldn't work there any more. It wasn't even the worst incident we'd dealt with, not by a long shot, but it was the caller's age and the fact that I was still struggling with my noggin after a number of very unpleasant incidents in the months prior where we'd failed to save a lot of people and I'd done what I always do and mentally assumed complete and sole responsibility for their deaths.
It was a little girl crying that her friend had been swept out to sea. I kept her talking while we got a helo and lifeboat out. Several times she thought her friend had drowned and did that scream that people do. I've heard it lots from adults, but never from a child.
The lifeboat guys got the girl- some guy on his first ever shout jumped in and grabbed her- and all was well in the end, but I was done.
I went and hid in the heads and had a bit of a meltdown. Like, full-on Russell-Crowe-in-Gladiator blubbing with snot everywhere and everything.
That was the day I realised once and for all that I needed to be back out on the ground, kicking doors and getting shit done.
Which is why I spent part of last night up a ladder squirting water on some guy's house.
EDIT: Missing words because shaky hands.
Sobbing, he said "get them here." He then said his address. I repeated back the address, and he said again "Please get them here." I asked his name and he sobbed harder and repeated "Just get them here." He hung up the phone. I called back, and no answer. Attempted 4 more times and no answer. I then looked up names associated with the address and saw it was a local law enforcement officer. My partner dispatched it, and units pended it. I told my partner to please have the units look at the call. They then went en route. When they arrived, they found him with a self-inflicted gsw to his head. With his service pistol. I was the last person to ever talk to him. I have never heard anyone sound like he did. I tried to get him to stay on the phone with me.
We all need a little wholesome content every now and then. Much of the world, especially right now, can seem very dark and depressing.
It's important to recognize that not all of the world is as scary as it may seem. So we wanted to see what wholesome facts people had to share with us.
In fact, the world "wholesome" literally means "promoting health or well-being of mind or spirit."
Take a minute to enjoy this list of wholesome facts that will just make your heart melt.
Redditor 2ndRockBottom asked:
"What is the most wholesome fact you know?"
You might want to grab some tissues.
A lottery winner and a lucky waitress.
"In 1984, a regular customer at a pizzeria asked his waitress for help choosing his lottery numbers. He won, came back, and tipped her $3 million."
"For eight years, Robert Cunningham was a regular at Sal's Pizzeria in Yonkers, NY. One night, he asked waitress Phyllis Penzo to split the numbers on his card. On April Fool's Day, she was woken up by a phone call from Cunningham telling her he'd won $6 million and she was entitled to half of it and made good on his promise."
"There's a movie about that, right? Early 90's?"
Yep! It's called It Could Happen To You from 1994.
"There was a man from a small rural settlement in Australia (I think) who won $20,000 from a scratch card."
"A news crew reported on it and the chap demonstrated how it works by buying another ticket. When he scratched the ticket, he had won another $50,000."
"Not $50,000. He won $250,000."
"Not just that, I think he had just survived being declared legally dead, right?"
That's right. The man was declared dead and was then in a 15-day coma.
Cows are actually so cute.
"Cows have best friends."
"My parents had cows for many years. They always knew which cows were friends to each other. It was so cute."
"Cows love music."
"They'll drop what they're doing and run over to listen, and studies have shown lower stress levels and higher milk production."
"(Not doubting you) but I'm my experience, cows are just curious creatures. I remember throwing a football with my dad outside and the cows would always gather around to watch. Same would happen if I were playing in the yard. Any activity that wasn't 'normal' brought all the milkshakes to the yard"
"Cows ARE curious creatures. We had them come investigate our campfire one night."
"THAT'S a startling sight. You're drinking and smoking around a campfire with your friends, and suddenly you're in the middle of a circle of 30 cows."
"It was wild."
Happy little trees.
"Bob Ross's voice was intentionally soothing and quiet."
"He was a Airforce Master Sergeant, 'I was the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work. The job requires you to be a mean, tough person. And I was fed up with it. I promised myself that if I ever got away from it, it wasn't going to be that way anymore.'"
"My wife and I have been watching Bob Ross' The Joy of Painting on YouTube. If you haven't checked it out, it is really relaxing and sometimes we fall asleep to it on the tv while lying in bed."
"We sometimes like to pick paintings and do a Bob Ross Night. We get out our supplies, some alcohol and some snacks, and we just watch Bob teach us. Some of the paintings do come out well."
More libraries than McDonald's.
"That there are more public libraries in the US than there are McDonald's. I grew up poor and the library was a refuge for me, my library card was the only thing I carried in my first wallet."
"I started taking my kids to libraries like my dad did with me and my brothers when we were kids."
"I f*cking love libraries man."
"Libraries are great! I spent the last 14 years living in a city with an underfunded library system, where I could never find what I was looking for. I moved to a different city that believes in funding public services, and I've been taking full advantage of my local library now."
Animals in mourning.
"Horses mourn the death of other creatures, not just horses. When my daughter was younger we took her to riding lessons. One of the horses stepped on one of the barn cats and killed it. It was buried inside the horse pen and ALL of them, including the younger one that was usually a pita and super playful, were standing around the burial area with their heads down. They were like this for 2 days I was told and this was common for how they deal with the dead."
"Elephants also mourn the dead hence the term 'Elephant graveyard' where relatives pay homage to those that have fallen. It seems the concept of life and death isn't an exclusive human thing."
"Crows mourn the deaths of other crows in a similar manner. They stand in a circle around the deceased and sometimes raise their wings up. Very surreal thing to see. They also remember faces and hold grudges, so be kind to your local crows."
Pets really are healing.
"Interacting with pets causes brain to make oxytocin."
"Where there was a lethal bus accident outside my workplace that had killed 8 passengers including coworkers, our workplace brought in some puppies for people to enjoy to make them feel better."
Mr. Rogers fun fact.
"Every one of the sweaters Mr. Rogers wore on his show were hand knitted by his mom."
"Bonus Neighborhood fact, Mr. Rogers began to include a segment of the show where he fed his fish because a child wrote him, concerned about whether or not they were still alive and well."
"Mr. Rogers kept to a fairly rigid diet and exercise program, in order to consistently weigh 143 pounds. 143 was important to him, because the word 'I' contains 1 letter, the word 'love' contains 4 letters, and the word 'you' contains 3 letters."
"So, 143 = 'I love you.'"
"After he passed away, the Governor of Pennsylvania declared May 23 - the 143rd day of the year - to be '143 Day,' in honor of Mr. Rogers. Citizens are encouraged to show kindness to neighbors on May 23. (And every other day)."
"He responded to every single letter he received, and kept every letter and drawing in a special filing cabinet. He considered every letter and drawing to be sacred."
"He named his puppet King Friday the 13th because he didn't like the negative stigma associated with Friday the 13th, and wanted children to associate Friday the 13th with a friendly puppet rather than a day of bad luck or evil."
"One night, Mr. Rogers was invited to a fancy dinner for PBS employees and executives. He was given a limousine ride to the restaurant. When they arrived, Mr. Rogers asked the chauffer when they would see each other again. The chauffeur explained that he would wait 2-3 hours outside, in the car, then drive him home."
"This didn't sit right with Mr. Rogers. So, he insisted on having the chauffeur join him for dinner."
"On the way home, Mr. Rogers sat in the front seat with the chauffeur, getting to know him better. As the chauffeur told Mr. Rogers what a fan his children were of the show, Mr. Rogers asked the chauffeur if he could meet them. The chauffeur took Mr. Rogers to his own home, where Mr. Rogers met everyone, hung out for a couple hours, and even played piano for them."
"The chauffeur said it was one of the best days of his life."
Some of these really hit hard. If you needed a few happy tears today, we hope this did it for you. There's a lot of difficult news in the world right now and it's important to remember that there are good, wholesome things happening all at the same time.
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Laws exist to maintain order. However, they do not prevent crimes from actually happening, and before any punishments are made, the damage is already done.
Curious to hear about some of the more creepy indiscretions people get away with, Redditor Flytechofficial asked:
"What is perfectly legal, but creepy as hell?"
These things that happen in public restrooms can be considered criminal.
Respecting Splash Zones
"Using the urinal next to me when there were plenty of other choices."
Nightmare For The Pee-Shy
"hanging out in a public bathroom timing how long people pee."
"I swear to God. I did a lot of work in hospitals for a while, big f'king hospitals with tons of bathrooms all over the place. For some God damned reason, regardless of what time or bathroom I selected to take a sh*t in not 30 seconds after I sat down a janitor would knock on the door to clean the bathroom. It's not as if it was one janitor, just some random janitor would inevitably need to clean whatever bathroom I was in as soon as I got comfy. It's like I was being stalked by the janitors."
"So now I'm trying to take a sh*t knowing full well there's somebody out there actively timing how long it takes."
"I was drunk in a casino and went to use the washroom. The floors in there were a polished marble or something. Sitting on the toilet, pants down, my stall neighbour made eye contact with me on the reflective floor tile."
The following examples involving minors have no legal repercussions.
Kids For Show
"Child Beauty pageants."
"Technically, you can stand on the sidewalk and stare into someone's house through a window. It's not illegal as long as you stay off of their property, but it's really freaking creepy."
Keeping Tabs On Someone's Age
"A national newspaper having a countdown for when a child actress becomes 'legal' for sex."
"Answers to questions that will surely come. ....Yes. The Sun (UK). Emma Watson."
The Young Subjects
"When I was a child, we had a creepy horrible neighbor that would harass my family constantly. One of the things he did was stand at the corner of his yard and videotape me playing in a pool with my friends (we were around 8). My parents called the police but were told that it's legal if he's on his property."
These perfectly harmless examples can give you goosebumps.
"Hanging your doll collection from the trees in your yard using string made from human hair."
"I believe the act of cannibalism itself is legal so long as you didn't murder anyone to do it. If your homie gives you his arm to gnaw on, it's fair game."
"Facing the wrong way in an elevator."
I recently treated myself by going to a movie theater after what seemed like a long hiatus for much of the year.
Streaming blockbuster movies from home, while convenient, has never made as much of an impact when compared to the moviegoing experience.
But after my recent trip to our local AMC, I'm beginning to think watching entertainment from the comfort of my quiet home is a much better option.
I forgot that a good majority of audience members are disrespectful and pretty much ignore all the rules—including no texting or talking during the movie.
The normal volume conversations and the number of lit screens from people's smartphone's in my peripheral vision throughout the movie were huge distractions.
Maybe as I'm getting older, my patience has worn thin, or I happened to have a particularly unpleasant experience. But seriously, how can anyone enjoy going to the movies when people are constantly updating their status inside a darkened auditorium?
It should illegal. Rant over.
Shaking hands... what's up with that?
Could this social custom be going out of style given that we're all in the middle of a global pandemic and have become hyperaware of all the germs around us?
And not just that, but just how nasty people are? Why would you want to shake hands with them?
People shared their opinions after Redditor alebenchhe asked the online community,
"What social customs do we need to retire?"
"Making couples feel obligated to have giant, fancy, weddings."
If someone wants that, then more power to them.
But there are indeed people out there who spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to have weddings to please their families... only to divorce later.
"If I take a day..."
"Rest being seen as lazy. If I take a day off of work simply to sleep in and rest at home instead of having to have some sort of big plans or destination it shouldn't be seen as anything less."
"Having to purchase..."
"Having to purchase gifts for extended family that you cannot afford because it is Christmas or another holiday."
Yeah, let's stop that. Not all of us are made of money!
"Though it looks like this custom is fading away during the pandemic...but how about we stop glorifying us "being model employees by showing up to work even while sick?"
I was at a retailer for 14 years, and I don't have enough fingers and toes to count how many times I used to see managers and supervisors dragging themselves to work while sick to please their superiors. In January 2020, I ended up getting the flu from a co-worker that decided it would impress the store manager if she still showed up while sick with the flu.
That culture went away REAL quick when we started getting COVID cases in the store I was at...and I too ended up getting a mild case of COVID. I've called out any time in the past when I felt sick...and I will continue to do so as I normally did."
"I don't create..."
"Worshipping celebrities. I don't get it and it seems to just create tons of problems."
The celebrity worshipping culture, at least in the United States, is insane, and sets people up with rather unrealistic expectations.
"This goes along..."
"That because someone is"family", you should force yourself to spend time with them and be "nice and respectful", no matter what kind of person they are or how they treat you.
This goes along with the enabling acceptance of "that's just how they are" rather than condemning poor behavior choices."
Yes, let's normalize cutting out toxic people from our lives. We'll thank ourselves later.
"Expensive funerals. The funeral industry is insane."
"Discussing salary with co-workers should no longer be taboo."
That's how they get you––it's in your employer's best interest to keep you in the dark, and it's wrong. Many people out there are not aware of their rights in the workplace.
"Giving greeting cards..."
"Giving greeting cards for every single event imaginable. Why pay $5 to give someone a piece of paper that will get thrown out the next day? I'd rather you give me $5 and skip the card."
It's a wild world we live in and social customs can and do change. Life now won't look the same twenty years from now for instance––perhaps for the better? Who knows?
Oh, and sorry, but can we go back to the topic of shaking hands? Let's not do that. Just wanted to be extra clear.
Have some opinions of your own? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!
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I have a paralyzing fear of death. If I could I would live forever. Have you ever seen the movie "Death Becomes Her?" I would give every penny for that potion. And I wouldn't be all crazy like them.
Live well forever and be happy? It's possible. Even though life is nuts and scary, you're still here. What if there is nothing after the final breath? I don't want to just not exist, while everybody else just gets to keep on dancing.
In my hopes I see a Heaven with ice cream and vodka. So I'm going to hold onto that until eternal life is an option. Let's hear from the gallery...
Redditor u/St3fan34 wanted to discuss life after life, by asking:
What do you think really happens after death?
I feel like if there is nothing after life, it just invalidates life. But maybe I'm just dramatic. I hope there is peace. Thoughts?
Leftoversblack and white two funerals GIFGiphy
"Your family fights for your belongings."
"When we die, the whole world as seen by us, dies together with us."
"Yes it does. As does the entire universe. Only when we are alive can we experience the passage of time. The instant we die the entire universe will experience heat death and cease to be. It my take a million eons but since we can no longer experience time it will be relatively instantaneous."
"It's one of the great wonders of life: What will it be like to go to sleep and never wake up? And if you think long enough about that, something will happen to you. You will find out, among other things, that it will pose the next question to you: What was it like to wake up after never having gone to sleep? That was when you were born. You see, you can't have an experience of nothing. Nature abhors a vacuum. ~Alan Watts"
"When I was much younger, I had a dream where I died. Not a typical dream, not a romanticized dream. It was a dream where I was an archer in a medieval battle. About 5 minutes into the battle, chaos was all around me, and I watched an opposing archer aim and loose an arrow straight into my left eye."
"I remember the sensation of impact, ringing in my ears, and falling to the ground. I remember the warmth of the blood on my face. The feeling of life leaving my body, and the sense of worry evaporating into warmth and peace as the world left behind me."
"I remember waking up shortly after thinking that the feeling and reality of that experience was so vivid and so detailed that it must have been an experience from a previous incarnation hundreds of years ago. From that moment on, I've never feared the actual process of death. I feel like I've experienced it many times before."
EraseComputer Reaction GIFGiphy
"I think one of your best friends delete's your browsing history."
If you love me... rule number one... HIDE THE EVIDENCE!!! Let that be heard far and wide. And dreams, always so intertwined aren't they?
Before & AfterHappy Baby GIFGiphy
"Exactly the same as before you were born."
"We clean the bed and assign it to another patient."
"The REAL reason why nurses are so dark. 90 year old man in hospice got hit by a car on his way to get fitted for his funeral tuxedo, and didn't have a DNR. Kept him alive for four hours, and now it's time to document everything that was done to save his life because there will inevitably be a lawsuit from a family member who has had four years to say goodbye but somehow didn't get to."
I don't know what they mean or how to utilize them. I'm a Buddhist (but a gamer first and foremost) so it's cool you guys made those connections This totally makes up for r/movies continuously banning me."
"I've answered this one before but here it is again. Either two things happen after you die: you either go somewhere or it's oblivion. If it is oblivion, then we're just going back to the same place before we were born and there's nothing wrong with that. We were there for billions or trillions of years, possibly infinity."
"You lose that concept of time since your brain doesn't work anymore so you don't even know it's over. It's not nothing because nothing would be something and that means that you are aware, which you can not be if you're dead. If we do go somewhere, then that's something no one understands because no one has ever come back to tell us."
"Those stories of people coming back after they "died" and "saw stuff" weren't really dead. Their hearts stopped but their brains were still working. If the Universe continues to recycle itself infinitely, then there's a chance we will be reborn or continuously reborn but have no memory of our previous selves."
"When I was a kid I drowned while on holiday with my family, a giant fat man jumped in the pool on top of me and no one noticed till I was on the bottom of the pool. I remember the feeling of my lungs being on fire, then shivering then as everything was going dark a strange sense of peace and I was ok with it, No panic or terror then it went black."
"I was resuscitated at the side of the pool a few minutes later. I remember nothing from the black to being "alive" again. I was around 7 when it happened and since then I've been strangely at peace with the fact that one day I will die and slip into the dark void of nothingness. Hope that helps."
Popcorn?500 days of summer cinema GIFGiphy
"You wake up in a chair in a cinema and learn that the other are past lives of you and you're about to watch your next life very soon on the big screen."
The truth is none of us know the truth. We live everyday with the afterlife being a gamble. And that seems like it's going to have to be enough.
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