911 Operators Share The Stupidest Reasons People Called

A woman on the phone
Unsplash | Timur Repin

Chances are pretty good for most people that, now and then, they'll need to call 911. While the vast majority of us understand that calling the emergency number is for, well, emergencies, 911 operators get all kinds of weird calls.

The r/AskReddit thread, "911 operators of Reddit, what was the dumbest non-emergency you picked up?" is an absolute cornucopia of dumb. Let's dig in, shall we?

Pre-emptive call.

A stressed man yelling
Unsplash | Usman Yousaf

"Got a call for anaphylaxis in a 30-something year old so we sped over there preparing our plan for treatment so it can go nice and smoothly.

"Get in there, the guy is sat on his sofa absolutely fine, breathing normal, no swelling or any symptoms at all.

"Turns out he was frightened he was going into anaphylaxis because he fell into some stinging nettles several hours before and was worried because his arm was coming up in a painful red bumpy rash."


She's probably not a local.

A sign saying 'Emergency pull'
Unsplash | Jason Leung

"We have an appliance repair shop in the middle of the town where I worked and, as an advertising gimmick, the owner has a set of dummy legs dressed in boots and pants inside an old washer. A lady calls in on 911 panicking because she just drove by the shop and there's a man stuck in a washer in the parking lot."


That's a new one.

A bowl of pears
Unsplash | khloe arledge

"I answered police calls in the UK, had one come through on 999 where a woman was reporting that a neighbour had forced the caller's 8 year old son into eating 4 or 5 pears that he had shaken off her tree. It was really difficult to keep a straight voice and really difficult to know how to classify that from the pre-defined categories on the system. In the end I went with 'anti-social behaviour' and dispatch sent a PCSO to calm her down."


Country living.

A rural road
Unsplash | Clint Patterson

"My wife was a dispatcher for a tiny rural town. One call she got, a lady asked if there was a prison break or escaped convicts. There wasn't, but when asked why, she said she saw two men who looked like convicts. My wife was skeptical, but sent a car to drive by.

It was just two black dudes walking down the street wearing normal clothes. Good ol' country racism..."


911 doesn't handle vaccinations.

A gif from SNL
Giphy | NBC

"I worked emergency medical in the military and got my share of stupid calls. My favorite was a spouse calling saying ‘I’m leaving the country on vacation tomorrow and I need a few vaccinations or I won’t be allowed to enter country XYZ’ This call was at 2 am. The ER doesn’t just give out vaccinations. Needless to say she screamed at me, I laughed, my Officer in charge laughed."


Time to investigate.

A person holding a magnifying glass
Unsplash | Emiliano Vittoriosi

"Had a guy call at like 3am, whispering. He and his wife had stayed up drinking, she had passed out on top of him, and he couldn't get up. And could barely breathe. She was 400lbs+ and he was 150.

"They had just moved from out of state, and he didn't remember his address. And couldn't reach any pieces of mail. And was calling from a cell phone (in the days before smart phones).

That was a fun one to figure out."


Must have been one scary turtle.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gif: "Cowabunga!"
Giphy | Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

"An operator visited my internship program last summer to talk about his career and answer any questions about the profession. I asked him this very question, and then he told the story about a stupid lady who called 911 because there was a turtle on her lawn... MULTIPLE TIMES."


Yes, it works.

A person holding a phone
Unsplash | freestocks

"I know a few 911 operators and they tell me that they consistently get 911 calls 'to make sure it works.'

"Clearly, in this day and age when idiots seem to rule, this needs to be said. 911 does indeed work. You'll find out when the cops arrive at your door and give you a blast of [expletive] for being among the most stupid people in the nation. And hopefully a hefty fine as well."


Who ya gonna call?

A gif from Ghostbusters
Giphy | Ghostbusters

"Cop friend told me they were dispatched because there was a ghost in the house. When they arrived the women asked what the cops were going to use to fight it."


When you don't see the full problem.

Boats on a trailer
Unsplash | Nareeta Martin

"Neighbor is a retired dispatcher. Latest great story is a lady called 911 to report a police officer blocking the road. She wanted him to stop blocking the road and he wouldn't move.

The problem? A boat in the road, taking up the entire road, she wouldn't have been able to get by. Nevermind the huge crane there to lift the boat, also blocking the entire road with its outriggers, and the trailer the boat was going on, also sitting dead nuts middle of the road to be loaded."


Arrest them for potential thoughtcrime.

Gif: "A little racist"

"A lot of people don’t realize that the citizens making the 911 calls that police have to respond to are the really racist ones. And the police get just as tired of their racism as the dispatchers.

Also, another one. A lady came in to report a suspicious black man who was doing absolutely nothing suspicious. She came to report it because 'I felt like he was going to break into my neighbor’s yard.'"


Word to the wise.

A kid using a phone
Unsplash | bruce mars

"When my daughter was 5 she spent a week with my dad. He gave her an old iPhone to play with. He said he got a kick out of it bc she has been 'fake talking' to someone all week. Well towards the end of the week she handed the phone to him and he played along and said hello. It was a 911 operator! She had been calling all week to chat with them. They weren’t mad but wanted to let my dad know that out of service iphones can still call 911."


High stakes pizza delivery.

A person holding boxes of pizza
Unsplash | Arantxa Aniorte

"Had a guy call, in a serious panic, saying someone was trying to break into his house. He sounded super panicked, anxious. I heard loud knocking through the phone. The caller also threw in 'I pay your [expletive] taxes now SEND THE [expletive] COPS, I DON'T WANT TO DIE, etc... I could hear that constant loud door banging and a muffled voice. The guy then throws in 'I just had pizza delivered here, and now I have someone trying to break into my house!!'... and then I could hear through the phone, the delivery guy say 'sir, you forgot your change!', over and over."


An emotional rollercoaster.

A gif of a vampire

"My friend works as a 999 operative, she had one guy call and tell her he was a vampire... And another who pretended he could see something happening outside, that required armed response, she quickly called through to her line manager to explain she was pretty sure he was giving her details about an episode of The Wire but they still had to send the armed response to an empty car park surrounded by high rise buildings."


Wholesome content.

An old-school phone
Unsplash | Quino Al

"My grandma used to call 911 to have the fire department being her milk (she lived next to the fire department). She did this multiple times. Eventually the fire chief gave her his direct line and he brought her milk until she came to live with us. She passed away in 2004."


What a silly bloke.

A man looking in the mirror

"The dumbest one was middle of one night. Bloke rang in a panic and said he was being burgled. Had walked to the bathroom in the middle of the night and seen a guy on the landing. Sprinted back to his bedroom and rang the police. 3 cop cars and a dog unit speed over to his house and do a sweep of the house. Couldn’t find anything. When one cop asked him where he’d seen this guy he showed him the hallway which had a very large full sized mirror at the end. Turns out the guy had seen his own reflection in the dark."


It's Uber's problem now.

A woman talking on the phone
Unsplash | Timur Repin

"Had a lady call in because she wanted her neighbor's trash moved since she had company coming over. Trash pickup was the next day so it's not even like the neighbor had it out too early.

"Also, had a guy demand for me to personally come pick him up and take him to get his tools. He said I had to since he pays taxes which means he pays my salary. I let him know if that was the case, I pay my own salary and to call an Uber."


He saw a saw.

Gif of Bart Simpson welding

"One caller was concerned for his safety when going outside his house because the neighbor a couple of houses down had his table saw out in his garage and he was afraid the wind would blow the blade over to his house and injure him..."


Surely that's illegal.

A Filet-o-Fish from McDonald's
Flickr | bellaphon

"Guy called 911 before because he ordered a Filet-O-Fish from the drive-thru at McDonald’s and it had ketchup on it.

"He was adamant about wanting the police to show up…His 'argument' was that he worked at McDonald’s when he was 16 and you don’t put ketchup on Filet-O-Fish."


Guy got off the train at the wrong stop.

A train station
Flickr | ingi52

"Dude called 911 because he got off a train at the wrong stop and was broke. Honestly it wasn't even his predicament so much as he was absolutely obnoxious about it, even called 911 severel more times after I had already told him officers were en route."