I imagine that there’s quite a bit about being a 9-1-1 operator that’s pretty tough to deal with. You’re the person who gets the call when a stranger is scared, hurt, or both, and getting help to them while you keep them on the line has to be nothing short of extremely stressful.
It’s a good thing, then, that every public-facing job comes with some built-in component of humor – and those are the moments these 17 operators are recalling today.
17. That second one, though.
There are funny calls that come in all the time. I talked to a pizza delivery guy who couldn’t reach his destination because a defiant chicken was standing in the middle of the road. I stayed with him on the phone as he pleaded with it to finally move along. Truly a chicken crossing the road moment.
Another time I took a call where a guy insisted he was in an argument with a man dressed as a giant Pepsi bottle. He said the man in the Pepsi suit had stolen his debit card and refused to give it back. Upon arrival the officers told me he was high as sh%t and arguing with a vending machine.
16. Was it a big fish, or?
I only worked dispatch for a few months and I got a call for a fish being stuck in a woman’s ear.
15. It’s better to size up.
When I was a Fire dispatcher, I had to send a Squad to remove a c*ck ring. So there’s that.
14. How do you not laugh?
No longer a 911 operator, but I had two.
First one when a young man realized what happens to some women during the first time. He thought he poked something and hurt her.
Second was when a man and a woman were getting hot and heavy – he ended up getting junk stiuk inside of a Gatorade bottle. Getting his junk stuck wasn’t funny (it’s a serious medical concern and could result in emergency surgery) – but his S.O. yelling in the background about how he could have just asked for a bl*w job and she would have given it literally killed me throughout the call.
13. Stay away from the claws.
Caller called because they got their head stuck in a cat tree. With the cat stuck inside with it. Throughout the call I kept hearing like “ow, f*ck” and “dude this isn’t fun for me either” “dude, i know f*ck!” “dude!”…
Caller ended up going to the hospital for a minor case of serious head lacerations. Ok I don’t really know the severity but I’m sure they got some stitches.
The other cool thing was that the caller was using an apple watch to call 911 because obviously they wouldn’t be able to hold the phone to their ear. We get about a dozen misdials from apple watches a day, it was nice to finally see one being used for ‘real’
12. Downright hilarious.
I had a guy call 911 because he was concerned about an injured seagull in a Chipotle restaurant parking lot.
Apparently while on the phone, he tried to pick up or check on the bird at which point the bird started squawking, then he started freaking out and I started having trouble telling them apart.
Then there I could hear what might have been wings flapping, a brief silence, and suddenly the guy started hyperventilating and screaming he needed an ambulance because he was having a heart attack and that the bird flew off.
I wasn’t sure if he was being serious so I got him over to EMS as a precaution. Upon transfer and getting EMS on the line he got very quiet and said, “I think I’m okay, I’ll call you back later,” and hung up and would not answer on callback.
I still wonder about Steven Seagull when I drive by a Chipotle.
11. At least it’s not all terrible.
Someone legit called me today to say “some guy has a pet rock and he almost got hit by a car collecting his pet from the roadway”
I have so many everyday.
10. Even in Malibu…
Not a dispatcher, but I did get dispatched by them. My favorite call was when my pager went off and I read aloud, “Woman bit by camel.”
We were working in Malibu.
9. Maybe it really was hypothetical.
I briefly worked as a 911 operator. When someone called on the non- emergency line we always answered the same way- “Blank police and fire this is a recorded line, how can I help you?”
We get a call on that line, I answer as usual and a very inebriated sounding woman asks the following: “Hypothetically speaking if my boyfriend had a few grams of cocaine and I called the police to tell them about it would either of us get into any trouble?” “Ma’am you’re calling the police on a recorded line.” “I know, but what does the law say?”
“ I don’t know ma’am, I’m not a police officer, would you like me to send one?” “Yes please.” She gives me her address, an officer responded but there where no arrests. That one had me scratching my head.
8. Eh, what’s the difference?
I just certified as a call taker and got mandated for overtime (of course) on my first shift. Policy was if someone insisted they saw something we take it as face value and enter the call.
Well this lady called me just after midnight and swore she saw a chupacabra on the west side of Orlando and Insisted in an officer doing an area check.
Not too long after that a coworker was in on his night off and left the building. He called 2 mins later saying he saw a kangaroo hopping down the street.
7. That’s a bad moment.
One time a guy called in while I was training and stated he had cut his penis. When I answered you cut your penis?! The trainer smacked me on the arm and told me he said he’d cut his hand. She looked at me like the biggest pervert!
Then 10 seconds later into the conversation he says, “Yeah I was trying on a rubber that was too small and I had to cut it off so I cut right into my penis!”. She almost couldn’t stop herself from laughing.
6. The answer is still none.
My dad used to be in charge of the 911 call center. One particular story I remember was in like 09 some guy called asking how much weed he could have in his car while driving through the state.
They went back and forth for maybe 20 minutes of the guy repeating and rephrasing the question and my dad just responding “none.”
5. More bizarre than funny.
A guy called in because his dog had bitten a seagull and was now “acting strange.” He demanded we find the bird, capture it, and test it for rabies. The whole circumstances were vague and he was unwilling to listen to reasonable advice(like that birds can’t carry rabies).
He had the audacity to file a complaint when informed we would not be doing what he wanted.
4. Bless her heart.
I had a sweet sounding older lady call because people were setting off fireworks and she was concerned the wildlife would get scared and get hit by a vehicle.
When I told her that the fire department was being sent to check it out she got furious, saying she doesn’t want the fire department, that it was a waste of tax payers dollars, and that she would never call again.
3. Raccoons are audacious, man.
Had a grown man calling in about “a monster trying to get into his son’s room ” ….. he’s the right kind of frantic where I KNOW it’s not a mental health crisis , but I still couldn’t figure it out . Well, hes a middle Eastern male with a real thick accent and I was having a hard time understanding, so he gave the phone to his son .
The monster had climbed a tree and was at his bedroom window . And it was as big as his dog . And it has hands like him but tiny ….. Wait, what ? Right there I told the kid to see if it had rings on his tail … Yes … They had just moved to America a month ago, and had never heard of raccoons .
I couldn’t mute myself fast enough , and the father heard me laughing . I think that’s what helped calm him down. I explained what a trash panda was and welcomed him to our wild jungle .
2. Drugs are a heck of a thing.
Lady called in because she thought Willie Nelson was having a cardiac arrest in her trailer, and she needed an ambulance.
I started giving her CPR instructions, and come to find out when paramedics got there, she was doing compressions on the couch cushions.
1. This is funny, even if you’re the dude.
A man requiring extrication from an Under Armor insulated shirt.
His shoulder popped out of the socket while he was pulling it on, it was halfway on/halfway off and his arm was locked and dislocated.
Man, humans are special, aren’t they?
If you’re a 9-1-1 dispatcher, share your own funny recollections with us in the comments!