Americans in crisis make nearly 250 million calls to 9-1-1 annually, yet with increasingly limited funding and resources, emergency operators are less able to handle the influx of calls. Reports of busy signals are on the rise: 26% of Californians hanging up in frustration over being put on hold for so long before ever speaking to a 911 operator. Last week, one New York woman received a busy signal eight consecutive times while desperately calling for help while experiencing a heart attack.
With that in mind, it’s especially important to remember to reserve the line for life-threatening emergencies only. Here are nine ridiculous calls to 911 that may have tied up the line for people in legitimate trouble:
1. Cable Outages
This past weekend, Connecticut police received multiple calls to 911 to report the cable being out. It’s remarkable that people could go that crazy over a couple hours without television and that Fairfield actually needed to release a statement noting a Cablevision outage is “neither an emergency or a police related concern.”
2. Looking for a Date
After neighbors called in a noise complaint on Lorna Dudash, two officers arrived to tell her to turn her music down. Dudash instantly developed a crush on one of the officers and regretted not exchanging information with him, so she called him up at the only number she knew: 911.
Declaring him “the cutest cop [she’s] seen in God knows how long,” Dudash was able to convince the 911 operator to send the officer back to her house… although this time it was to arrest her for abusing emergency services.
3. Or Hiding a Date
If it’s not appropriate to call 911 for a date, it’s similarly wrong to call emergency services if you have too many dates. Colorado man Kevin Gaylor invited a potential mistress to visit him at his house, but ran into trouble when his wife arrived home earlier than expected.
Gaylor tried to cover-up his infidelity to his wife by calling the police to report the other woman as an armed intruder. Once all of the details were sorted out, Gaylor was charged with a misdemeanor for his false report.
4. Craving Lemonade
Florida resident Jean Fortune ordered a lemonade as part of a combo meal at the drive-thru, but was disheartened to learn that the fast food restaurant was actually out of the beverage when he reached the window. Fortune’s misfortune prompted him to call 911 to report that not only was there no lemonade, but that it took too long for the food to be prepared.
“Sir, come on. I know you don’t seriously think that the police need to make Burger King give you food faster,” the 911 operator said. Fortune was later charged for making this unnecessary call.
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