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Non-Emergency Dispatchers Share The Wildest Calls They've Ever Received

Non-Emergency Dispatchers Share The Wildest Calls They've Ever Received
Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

You'd be surprised by how many people call the non-emergency line for dispatchers, and tell them about, well, actual emergencies. Seriously, these guys don't get paid enough for the crap they put up with. Here are some of their most insane stories.

u/SirBean21 asked: Dispatchers of reddit, what calls have you taken on the "Non-Emergency" line that definitely was an emergency?

Please hold.

I've taken many legit emergencies on the non-emergency line. Most memorable was a lady who shot her husband and just called us to "collect the body."

What always shocked me was when it was busy and I would ask, "is this an emergency or can you hold?" People would always say they could hold but then have legit emergencies. Like, no your stab wound cannot hold.

I often found that in shock people tend to get hyper focused on one detail and leave out vital ones.


That's terrifying.


Not a dispatcher, but got a call about a noise disturbance from a farm at the edge of city limits. Turns out a party had gotten highjacked by a tweaker who thought it was a good idea to break in to a house full of teenagers. Turned into a 3 hour hostage situation. Guy crashed when the drugs left his system, nobody got hurt.


That's kind of a big deal.

Last night someone called our non-emergency line because one of their family members wasn't breathing at all. Got a little blind-sided by that one.


I mean for a lot of them I get the thinking. Already happened, not much to do, not an emergency anymore.

But how the hell do they not see one of their family members dying not as an emergency?! What is an emergency to them?


How did they even get that job?

I used to work for 111 (which is the non emergency medical line here in the UK).

I once had a call from a carer for an elderly lady, who was wheelchair bound and pretty much immobile. Upon taking the call, one of the first questions I ask is "can I possibly speak to the patient?" which is normally a quick yes or no. The carer hmmm'd for a good couple of minutes before deciding no, I couldn't speak to the patient. Her reasoning? The patient couldn't breath and was turning blue...


Not the smartest moment.


A friend and I were walking my dog past a local elementary school over winter break when we thought we heard a fire alarm ringing and faintly smelled smoke. We figured we were both just overimaginative, since nobody was around or seemed to be concerned. An hour later, as we were walking back we passed the elementary school again and the alarm and the smoke smell were still there. We decided to call the non-emergency line since nobody else in the surrounding neighborhood seemed to have noticed anything and we didn't want to look like teenagers pulling a prank. Operator answered and after we explained it to her she said "wait, you're telling me you think an elementary school has been on fire for the past hour and you didn't consider that an emergency?"

The fire was pretty small, and there was no structural damage, but yeah that was not a smart moment. I've never even told my mother that I'm one of the unnamed sources that alerted the authorities to a fire in a local elementary school. It is a secret my dog and I will take to our graves.


Call 911!

I work in emergency road service. I got a call for a lockout where a disabled woman was locked inside her car because of electrical issues. Because she had some kind of electronic assistance for getting in/out of the car, and the car was dead, she was stuck. It was snowing to beat the band and non-emergency response times were 4 hours. It was 20 degrees out. I told her to call 911 and she absolutely refused to do it.


Not a nuisance.

It's usually old people. "It's not an emergency but I fell 10 hours ago and have just now been able to crawl to the phone, just need some help getting up, on and please don't have them using all their lights and sirens I don't want to wake the neighbors" or "Oh I'm just having chest pain and can't really breathe right, just want someone to come check me out" Or "My husband hasn't been able to have a bowel movement is a while and now he's having really bad stomach pains"

They usually down play things that can go really really bad for them really fast, I think they feel embarrassed or like they don't want to be a nuisance.


That took a turn.


One of my instructors in AIT told us a story about how they were responding to a call where the patient was complaining about chest pain. For obvious reasons, he and the other EMTs were preparing for some sort of cardiac issue. They get to the scene just to find out that the patient's chest pain was due to the gunshot wound in his chest.

This technically doesn't fit your criteria, since chest pain is also an emergency, but I figured it fit well enough.


That's a strange occurance.

Almost 10 years in 911 here. I think it's about a 50/50 split for emergencies take on 911 lines versus non emergency admin lines. Shock does really weird things to people. And some people panic and call in "emergencies" that aren't emergencies to any rational person, but the caller isn't thinking rationally.

I've taken calls for suicide by firearm, rollover accidents, and house fires on non-emergent lines only to turn around and answer a 911 line for something like "my neighbor's dogs are barking and won't shut up."



Not a dispatcher, but I called about a lost dog near the beach one summer. The dispatcher asked if it had a collar, what breed it was, etc, and we eventually realized it was a coyote. For bonus points, when animal control and the cops showed up they told me it had rabies. Thankfully it was early enough nobody was at the beach yet.


Surprise fire.


Fire dispatcher here. I handle dispatching for the 9 fire departments in the township, I don't dispatch police or EMS or take 911 calls.

One night one of the firefighters from my station calls the dispatch desk to have a friendly chat while he's driving home. The second he turns the corner onto his street he starts screaming "HOLY SH*T ITS ON FIRE!! THE WHOLE HOUSE IS ON FIRE!! SEND THEM HERE NOW!!"

Didn't give me the exact address so I had to call him back. Eventually got it and dispatched the fire department. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't almost sh*t a brick.


Not so talented there.

After I left the army I worked weekends as a paramedic while in college. We got sent out to a call for a "drunk person passed out in the yard".

My partner and I arrived at a frat house to find no one in the yard. We knocked on the door and were quickly rushed to a room where a yelling drunk person was laid on a pool table with a knife through his hand.

Apparently they had been throwing knives at a wall and one of the guys was "really good", and on a dare the injured person put his hand on the wall for the guy to throw it between his fingers.

He wasn't that good as it turned out.


What was the thought process there?

Not a 911 operator but I worked at an ER for a year at the front desk check in, graveyard shift.

I've shared this story before but on a different username I've since deleted I think.

An older woman called me, meaning she bipassed TWO different automated operators telling her to hang up and dial 911 if she was having an emergency.

Nope, she went on hold and listened to all the operator options/greetings to tell me her husband might be having a heart attack. He had all the classic symptoms I asked her about, so I had to tell her for at least the third time that night to hang up and dial 911. (I made sure she knew to tell them her address and did my best to see that she was fit enough to communicate with 911). Just crazy that logic goes out the window for some people in situations like that. She was way too calm and also hadn't done any research into her husband's condition. I asked her "What symptoms is he having that makes you feel he's having a heart attack? Is he having chest pain or shortness of breath?" And she replied, "Oh...I don't know... I'll go ask him." (?!?)


"Chest pain."


People that revolve around gangs/drugs/guns a lot, know to get an ambulance for a gunshot wound by saying they have "chest pain", whereas if they mention gunshot wound, most cities send a police car with the ambulance or even instead of the ambulance.


Definitely sounds like a fire to me.

I was on night standby as a facility manager for a large corporate campus. Someone called asking for the air conditioning tech to come, because there was a lot of thick, black smoke coming out of the air conditioning ducts.

I asked him how much black smoke. He said a lot, and that it was filling the room and getting hard to breathe.

I informed him that something was almost certainly on fire, that he should pull the fire alarm and evacuate the building. He said "Okay, I just wanted to be sure."

Epilogue: yes, there was a fire and the fire department put it out.


People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.