These 17 Calls to 911 Operators Will Chill You to the Bone

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Everybody knows that being a 911 operator is a stressful job, and sometimes they hear things on the other line that stick with them for quite some time.

I’m glad the men and women who man these phones do what they do. Because I know I couldn’t deal with stories like this from AskReddit.

17. “He had planned on taking his life…”

A coworker of mine took this call: 911: where is your emergency? Caller: im at the bridge on [redacted] outside of [township] and theres a body underneath it 911: sir how do you know its dead C: i was driving through and i can just tell its face down and not moving at all. 911: ok sir is it male or female and can you tell if its wearing clothes? C: its a male and its fully dressed 911: sir how did you find the body does it seem like its been there a while? C: i was just driving by and saw it and no it doesnt look like its been there long. 911: ok can you stay there and meet the officer? C: yeah he should see my truck right on the bridge 911: ok sir and what is your name? C: my name is [redacted] date of birth [redacted] 911: ok thank you can you- C: [disconnected] 911: sir..sir..

Several calls back later and still no answer. Approx fifteen minutes later deputies arrive on scene and find an unoccupied truck parked at the bridge and the body of one elderly male under the bridge who had suffered a gun shot wound to the head approx 10 mins ago. The male had called in on himself. He had planned on taking his life and just wanted someone to find him but did it in a way that no one would be able to talk him out of it. I listened to the recording a couple days later and the most chilling part is this guy was 100% calm and collected.

16. “I was a dispatcher for 10 years.”

A couple come to mind. First, there was the elderly man who called and said, “I’ve killed my wife. Ill be on the back yard when you get here.” He hung up. Turned out that his wife was terminally ill and she wanted to die, so he shot her. Then he walked into the yard to shoot himself because he couldn’t live without her. This was both the most romantic thing and most tragic thing I’ve ever heard.

Then there was the guy who shot himself using a shotgun and his toe. His mother found him. I was trying to walk her through CPR, but the guy had been dead a couple days already. He was all bloated and purple. The gurgling noises coming from him during CPR were just horrific. Then the phone got disconnected. I tried to call her back and got her son’s voice mail. Kind of crazy to hear a dead guy’s voice.

15. “They both survived.”

Not me, my mom. She worked as an operator for about two years. One of those, around Christmas, she got a phone call from a payphone made by a girl who sounded extremely young, by my mom’s guess about 5-8. The girl said that her mommy was hurt, there was a lot of blood, and she was scared. She spoke to the responding officer a few days later and he said the girl was violently raped, and had multiple cuts over her body, varying in deepness. When they found the house after a few hours of searching, the mother had multiple stab wounds, was also raped, and was very close to death. They both survived.

This was in a small town of about 2,000 people. My mom was pretty protective of us for quite a long time afterwards.

14. “He was only 4 years old.”

About 5 years ago I took a child abuse call where the older brother, I think he was 7, was sexually abusing the 4 year old. When the 4 year old told the parents, they beat him to death. They called 911 3 days later when he was covered in ants and claimed he was just fine a few hours ago.

The details still haunt me. That 7 year old had to learn that behavior somewhere. 🙁

Both 7 and 4 year old were boys. The 4 year old was the one killed. I had to go to court on this after getting a partial confession, I wanted to scream in court at these people!

13. “Lots of screaming and crying…”

One time this guy called in on New Years eve, him and buddies were drunk and the pizza guy came to the door. It startled them so they got the gun out they were playing around with and went to get the door, like cops or something. Like clearing rooms etc. Something happened in the kitchen and the gun went off and shot the guy holding it in the head.

Lots of screaming and crying. I was trying to find out where the gun was so officers could secure it. I asked the caller if he could to take a peek into the kitchen to try and scope out where the gun was. He took a step in the kitchen and his voice changed and it sounded like he was going to get sick or faint. Since his buddies brains were distributed all over the kitchen cabinets. He sounded like he was going to blow lunch, so I just told him was doing a good job and to go back in the other room.

Most Call Takers are pretty used to the calls and put them out of their mind. Little 2 year old kids dying really suck. The calls with kids always suck. You just try to forget and go on.

12. “I still think about it all the time.”

I had a lady call me, withheld number, couldn’t find exact location. Wouldn’t give it. But she’s taken an overdose and didn’t want to die alone. I just sat and listened whilst she slurred her words and eventually stopped.

I left working that job at the end of last year and that call, I still think about it all the time.

11. “He was literally freezing to death.”

Not 911, but I worked for AAA for most of my 20s. On the night shift one evening there was a guy who called in and was very upset because Chicago had long wait times for towing service. I took the call as a supervisor and assured him we would keep him informed of any changes, but advised to seek shelter as there was an ice storm in progress. He refused to leave his car or accept a ride to safety. I talked to him 3 more times in the next 2 hours.

As the storm got worse managing volumes became more difficult and priority went to accident calls and people blocking traffic. Around 3am I got a call from an agent who had someone on the phone who was just wimpering and mumbling. I asked her for the phone number off caller ID and it was my friend from earlier. He was so committed to waiting for a tow and not leaving his car that he was literally freezing to death. My agent was on the verge of tears and asking what to do. I took over the call and had the other Sup contact Chicago PD.

I stayed on the line until police arrived and pulled him out of the car. He lived and was fine but holy shit I have never felt more helpless than listening to someone screaming at me and speaking 100 miles a minute to being so cold they can barely form 3 words that make sense.

10. “She said she could hear the baby crying…”

Chilling in a good way!

My mom is a dispatcher and got a call from a salon. A woman had gone into labor and was actively giving birth at the salon.

All of the women there helped and she talked them through it. She said she could hear the baby crying when it came out and the paramedics arrived.

My mom even got her own little snippet on the local news!

9. “It was no use.”

I worked on a homicide where there was a gang shooting and guy who wasn’t in either gang, but in the wrong place at the wrong time got shot by one of the gang members out in the street. The 911 call was from his girlfriend when she heard the gunshot and came out of their house to look for him.

You could hear her screaming at him and crying as the 911 operator told her how to do CPR but there were so many bullet holes that each time she did chest compressions she was crying and saying blood was gushing out of the holes.

The sound of her voice was heartbreaking. She was being told to do CPR and she did but she kept repeating he was dead and it was no use.

8. “I stayed on the phone with her for 11 minutes…”

One of my first “real” 911 calls was a lady in her burning trailer house. She was elderly and wasn’t very mobile. She was calling from a landline. I stayed on the phone with her for 11 minutes until the line went dead as she frantically struggled to get out of her house.

She never made it out and was found dead only +/- 2 feet from the door.

Every time I get a call of a house fire this flashed through my head.

7. “We then hear a siren…”

I’m an English-Spanish interpreter. I once got a call from a 911 operator saying “Interpreter, I need an address, now!”. Which is pretty normal, we usually talk to the operator first and then we get conferenced in. Then all I can hear is yelling, here’s how it happened (All in Spanish):

  • Me: Mam I need your address so we can send help (While she’s still yelling)
  • Me: Mam I need you to give me an address so we can find you

… This goes on for about 3 more minutes and I had to talk as loud as I could so she could hear me over her yelling. Eventually she passes the phone to somebody else, I get the address, give it to the 911 operator and she comes to the line again.

She’s yelling a combination of the previous conversations for about 9 minutes while the operator and me try (Unsuccessfully) to get an explanation of what happened. We then hear a siren and it’s clear the ambulance found them. The operator thanks me and hangs up.

I never knew what happened with the boy. As soon as that call ended I had to go to the next one. Probably just somebody trying to pay their bill or taking an insurance statement. But I’ve always wondered what ever happened after we were gone… I’m pretty sure the boy died though =(

6. “He wasn’t the same for ages.”

My brother in-law got a call where a woman had her house invaded and she was hiding in the closet. She narrated hearing them walk around the house and when the men found her screamed and he stayed on the line as they stabbed her to death.

She bled out for whole minutes. She managed to drag herself back to the phone and spoke to him about how scared she was and her love for her family. Her last thoughts were of sadness that she wouldn’t make it to her daughters graduation.

Even typing this out kills me. God that fucking sucked.

He wasn’t the same for ages.

5. “…help wasn’t arriving.”

I once was on the phone with an elderly man for 20 minutes telling him to do CPR on his dying wife. I could hear him grunting and doing the compressions. He was getting upset that help wasn’t arriving.

When the first unit finally got there (small town middle of nowhere call) he walked in and told us over the radio there was no patient.

Turns out the man had dementia and his wife had stepped out to the store or something and he just lost it ?

4. “As I connect the call he whispers to her…”

I take police emergency calls but answer 911 as well.

Elderly man calls 911. His wife passed away in bed next to him in the night. Per protocol we’re to connect to ambulance. As I connect the call he whispers to her … “you weren’t supposed to go before me”. This was years ago and it still breaks my heart today.

I never talk about it.

3. “Worst part was I received an award for it.”

21 year old called me and gave me his address, was crying a lot. Through the sobs said “I’m upstairs please don’t let them find me”. Heavy crying for 20 seconds before a loud bang and a long grunt of his body in revolt from the gunshot to the head. 15 minutes of him gasping for breath slower and slower until the police got there.

Next call was his brother calling to say he had posted a goodbye message on Facebook and he was racing home to check on him but wanted the police to stop by just in case. Worst part was I received an award for it. Never seemed right to get recognition for that.

2. “I’ve heard them all.”

I’ve been a 911 dispatcher for almost 30 years now.. i love my job and could never do anything else. i’ve been on the phone doing pre-arrival child birth instructions when babies took their first breath, and have been on the phone when people have taken their last breath, be it from natural causes, suicide or homicide, I’ve heard them all.

However, The one that sticks with me the most, Memorial day, 1999 a father called me to tell me that is daughter was on fire. Literally on fire. you could hear her screaming in the back ground. over 95% of her body was burned.

Somehow she managed to survive, multiple surgeries, loss of fingers and toes. and scars all over… but it’s amazing, she finished high school. going to college… and a couple years ago she added me on facebook…

1. “I could hear her struggling to keep her head and phone above water….”

I was a 911 Operator in Mobile, AL the day Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. We started getting lots of calls from New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast for some reason. I guess they started routing to us after all the 911 centers to the west of us started going down.

Anyways, I got a call from a woman who said she was trapped in her house on Gordon Street between Florida and Law. I was confused at first because we have a Florida Street in Mobile, and after checking and double checking and not being able to find her address I asked her what city she was calling from and she said “Im in New Orleans”. I tried to route her to New Orleans 911 and New Orleans Fire Department but could not get through. She started screaming and said the water was coming up into the attic where she was. I told her to find something heavy and break the attic vent out so she could get out on to her roof, but the vent was too small for her to crawl through. She sat down and started crying. I told her I would stay on the line with her for as long as she wanted me to. I stayed on the line and listened as she cried, prayed, cussed, and prayed some more.

A little while later I could hear her struggling to keep her head and phone above water, then the phone went dead. To this day I don’t know if she lived or died. I quit 911 three months after Katrina.

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