When I was in college, I lived in an apartment with five other guys. The apartment was small, but cheap. It had two bedrooms, with three beds in each, a medium size kitchen, a small living room and a single bathroom. We got along well though and I have many fond memories. Here’s one of them.
One evening a roommate thought he had called a friend of his (a girl), but instead of calling his friend, he accidentally dialed 911. You had to dial 9 to make calls, and he explained what happened but I never figured out exactly how he made that mistake. Suffice it to say that he called 911 when he thought he had called his friend.
Apparently she was quite the prankster because when he heard, “Emergency response 911” he thought his friend was joking around. He didn’t want to spoil the joke, so he went along with it. He wailed in mock terror, “Oh it’s awful, there’s blood everywhere. My child got his arm chopped up in the blender!”
The operator began asking questions about the injured child, if it was breathing and if he had done anything to stop the bleeding. Apparently the questions got too realistic and a sudden thought came into his head. Could it be that he had mis-dialed his friend’s phone number? She certainly knew a lot about how to react on the phone in an emergency and what questions to ask. She even mentioned something about having an officer on the way to check things out. It was then that he realized it really wasn’t his friend joking around, and began apologizing profusely. He explained to her what had happened, and thought that was the end of it, never thinking to mention his little mishap to the rest of us.
Now let’s switch to my perspective.
I was standing in the kitchen by the sink, eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when someone knocked on the door. With my mouth full, I managed to get out, “Umh in” but there was no response. A few seconds later the knocking returned, louder and more urgent. I casually walked to the door, peanut butter sandwich in hand, and opened it. There stood a police officer, not looking too friendly.
He proceeded to ask me if everything was okay, and, still trying to swallow my sandwich, I said, “Uh. I ingh so”. He proceeded to explain that someone had called 911 from this apartment saying there was blood everywhere and that a child had been severely injured. I didn’t know what to say, so I did what any normal college student would do. I turned around and yelled, “Does anyone know anything about a call to 911?”
Out came my roommate. His face was white, and he had one of the most scared and concerned expressions I had ever seen. When he saw the police officer, I thought he was going to faint on the spot. He immediately began apologizing, saying he didn’t mean to do it and that it was all a big mistake. I was confused at first, but managed to figure out that he had dialed 911 and somehow thought it wasn’t real and had come up with some sort of story.
The officer wasn’t buying it, and asked me and another roommate to come into one of the bedrooms with him so he could question us. He asked us if our roommate would do something like that to be funny, and if he was lying about it being a mistake. He also got the dispatcher who had taken the call on his little shoulder speaker and asked what she thought. After listening to all of our opinions, he decided to give my roommate a stern reprimand and told him that if anything like that ever happened again, he would be spending the night in jail.
You know, to this day, I don’t know why the police officer didn’t just come in when I yelled for him to.