These are the calls they'll never forget. Their fingers couldn't dial fast enough as the seconds ticked by and they waited for the 911 dispatchers to answer. Callers share the emergency calls that are seared in their brains forever.
Then I Saw The Kid
“Worked at a group home. Many of the kids were having a weekend back with their families. We had a couple of boys who… Well, it wasn’t safe for them to have a weekend at home.
So we treated them like kings that weekend, since they were super bummed about everyone else getting to have a family weekend. We’re on our way back from town when we get behind a vehicle going like, 30 below the speed limit.
It’s a windy ozark road, so I chalk it up to some older folks uncomfortable with the steep shoulder and narrow road. But then they start weaving around, ALL over the road. They took blind turns in the lane of oncoming traffic. It was SCARY.
So we called 911 and reported a suspected impaired driver.
Well, there’s not much out this way on the road other then our ranch, so I started to get the sick feeling that it was one of the group-home boys’ parents. And then a head popped over the back seat and looked back at us, and I recognized the kid.
I’m on the phone with dispatch and I say ‘Good God, they’ve got one of our boys in the car!’ She asks what I mean and I explain, which was pretty good because then they knew where the vehicle was headed, not just where it was.
I stopped at the ranch office to let the director know what was going on, just to see the parent driving off property again. Not even 10 seconds later a sheriff comes FLYING up the road. I ran out and pointed to the car that he’d just driven by, and he pulled the fastest u-turn I ever saw and took off after them.
I went up to the house and went to check on the kid, and he said they’d driven from a town 2 hours away like that. He was white as a sheet and said he was shocked they made it here alive.
She was arrested for her 9th driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license.”
A Worrisome Letter
“A friend of mine sent me a letter saying goodbye, wishing me the best and saying he will end his life. He wasn’t reachable afterwards when I called him and he had struggles with mental health. I called 911 based on limited info I had about his whereabouts. The officers talked to me for a long while to find his brother’s house, which I assumed where he was already since that was what he had told me.
I contacted some common friends too, but the ones I contacted apparently hadn’t received such a message. I asked them to try to get in touch with him and let me know as well. Turns out he sent this letter to a few other people, one of whom knew that he was downtown. I later received back from 911 informing me that he was admitted to the hospital. I broke down after this event, because frankly, it was a little too much to deal with. (I know it sounds awful) I had been there for this friend in his battle with mental health problems which mostly stemmed from academic problems. I wasn’t strong mentally enough for myself, so to be a reliable, strong friend for him was a struggle.
A lot of people resonated with this story and wanted to know how my friend is doing. He was receiving professional help before this but after the attempt, he started taking it more seriously. He stopped living in a dorm and moved into his brother and the brother’s girlfriend, whom I assume were also great support for him. He started doing different things: he was always into literature so he started taking professional writing classes that summer, he got into a design club, etc. He had to take a few of the courses he had failed that year but the university academic counsellors were very understanding and helped him plan his educational career. Later on, he also joined a university advocacy group advocating for better/ accessible mental health resources. It’s safe to say he’s been doing much better now. We aren’t as close as we once used to be, but I’m really happy about him finding himself.”
“It was December 23rd, 2019. I had been home from work for about an hour. My girlfriend wasn’t feeling well and had called out sick from her job that morning. We both assumed she had food poisoning because I spent a lot of time in the bathroom the night before.
So, I’m playing some PS4 as she’s resting in the bedroom, but I can hear her moaning in pain. Something isn’t right about what I hear so I go in the bedroom to check on her. She assures me she’s alright, but I’m starting to get worried and tell her I’ll call an ambulance if it gets worse, she agrees and I return to the video games.
Not long after this, she heads to the bathroom. At the time we lived in a small 1 bedroom apartment and the walls were like paper. So sound traveled easily in there…. after a few minutes of grunting (as you do) I hear a strange sound and the whispered words ‘what in the world?’
Suddenly she’s screaming my name. I run to the door, fling it open and I’m greeted by my pantsless girlfriend covered in blood, the floor is filling with pools of blood and she’s screaming ‘call 911!’
I’m not quite sure on what I’m seeing, but of course I run back to where I was playing ps4, because my phone is there and I say ‘What is going on, Girlfriend!?’ She replies with ‘I know! This is insane?!’
I get back to the bathroom and it all becomes clear. She was giving birth! I had to help her get on the floor and then ‘deliver’ the baby. I say ‘deliver’ because the baby pretty much did it all. I just kind of.. caught her? Lol
We didn’t know my girlfriend was pregnant, obviously. Earlier in the year there was a miscarriage and so we didn’t think anything of her cycle being messed up…
I didn’t get 911 dialed until our daughter was wrapped in a towel in her mother’s arms on the bathroom floor… it took them 27 minutes to arrive.”
I Don’t Get Paid Enough For This
“I was working closing shift at a convenience store in a small town. An old man, a regular, pulls up on his tractor and comes in to get his cheap carton of Santa Fe’s. Now he was always on the tractor because he lost his license years ago for all of his tickets for driving while inebriated (cops knew him and never stopped him), but this was the first time he came in the store under the influence.
He stumbles in, grabs his carton off the shelf, and proceeds to the counter. I ring him up, tell him the total, and he just…starts yelling. He is convinced I am ripping him off and pocketing money because his total is more than the price on the shelf. I try calmly explaining that it is sales tax but he isn’t having any of it. Then he tries to grab me across the counter. When I moved out of his reach he tried coming around to get to me, but he was too tipsy to make it and fell. So, I call 911 because I now have an inebriated and enraged old man on the floor. While I’m on the phone he starts threatening to assalt me when he gets his hands on me. Dispatch heard everything. One thing about that store is that it is where the chief of police and all the cops got their cigarellos and dip, so I got to know them well. Next thing I know every cop in the city is in my parking lot, and the old man is being hauled off to jail. Court was something else a few months later. Let’s just say the judge knew him well.
This was in 2012. By 2013 I’d had enough, got out of that town, moved back home to New Orleans and started bartending. The next time an inebriated man tried to come across a counter at me I tackled him and held him until security got there to walk him out and wait for the police. Customer service jobs are much more enjoyable when you can defend yourself against scum without having to worry about losing your job.”
Something Smells Strange
“One time in high school when I got up early to go to before-school baseball practice. After practice I came home to shower/change clothes and I noticed the house smelled kinda weird. Like a propane gas type smell.
I went to tell my parents I thought something smelled weird. Went to their bedroom and only my mom was in there. Told her. We came downstairs and coincidentally my dad was coming up from the basement at the same time, except he sorta passed out and fell on the stairs. My mom freaked out and called an ambulance.
Long story short, we lived in a super old house (built in the 1920s) and something went wrong with the furnace in the basement and that morning the house had slowly been filling up with carbon monoxide. My dad, having been in the basement watching tv that early morning suffered the brunt of it. I just happened to notice the smell because I left and came back and noticed the contrast, unlike the rest of my family who’d been slowly exposed to it and didn’t notice.
Everyone is fine. This was like 20+ years ago. My dad is still alive and well. We’ve always had carbon monoxide alarms in our houses ever since.
I do wonder tho, if it had been a weekend, and I didn’t need to get up super early to go to practice, if we’d have all just slept in and never woke up.”
“Called the cops on a pregnant lady who was holding a baby with her. Doing some driving one night as an Uber driver. A pregnant lady gets in the car with her 1 yo baby. No problems until we get to the destination. She asks for help finding her friend’s apartment. Says she can’t walk on her own. I help her walk and hold the baby in the baby seat thing cause she’s really preggo, I guess. Can’t find her friend but she’s freaking out and yelling at neighbors. She lost her phone so can’t call her friend. Starts acting weird and asks me for a cig and I’m like ummm no, let me drive you back to your home pls. She flips out more and tries to enter some big dude’s apt. He’s like who are you is that your baby? She’s like no it’s my friends. We’re like, ‘what in the world?’ I say hey that’s not your baby? She says she’s joking. She falls over and hits the ground, baby in hand. She’s on some illegal substances for sure or has been drinking. Me and the big dude get her to sit and chill and I call in the police cause she obviously is too impaired to keep herself or more importantly the baby safe. They come and take her away, she’s yelling she already has a record and will lose custody and that coming to California was a mistake and crying like a maniac. Big dude says I did the right thing and that it wasn’t snitchin’ and he’s a felon so he knows the deal. Good man tbh. Seriously, I went home and drank a bunch and smoked a bit to forget all about it. Still wondering where that baby is now.”
Shirts Vs. Skins
“It started with a 30 year old guy in his birthday suit wrestling a clothed 50 year old neighbor in front of my house.
Turns out the unclothed guy was abusing his girlfriend and the older guy was their live-in landlord. Once I called the cops, the 30 year old guy ran back into their house and the crying girlfriend went out on the 2nd floor balcony. Fearing for her safety, I went into the house with one of my other neighbors (I was 36, he was late 40’s). Barefoot with my arms extended in guard, I slowly walked in and up the stairs waiting for this guy to jump out at me. As I got to the top of the stairs, I see the bathroom window open and the police come rushing in.
The guy got away for a few hours running between the backyards of our neighborhood but the police finally caught him around midnight.”
A Ticking Time Bomb
“Called 999 (911) in the UK once. The couple who lived in the flat downstairs from us used to argue and fight all the time. We were used to it. But not like this day…
It started out with the shouting and screaming we were used to, but it quickly escalated to hearing her being beaten from one end of the flat to the other and the screams became pain, rather than rage. Then he must have picked something heavy up and thrown it at her. It fortunately missed and shattered one of their windows out into the back court where some kids were playing. It was loud enough that the operator caught it.
The girl moved back to her parents that day, but as far as I know, no further action was taken. He moved out and a new family moved into that flat soon after. We moved a year later, but only a short distance away.
Three months after we moved, a fire broke out in the circuit breaker cupboard in that same flat. It turned out that the abuser had bridged his electricity meter to try and defraud the electricity supplier. It hadn’t been well done, and the whole thing was a ticking time bomb.
No one in the flat was hurt, but one of the upstairs neighbors hurt her back from having to drop out of an upper floor window because by the time she woke up, the close was impassable.
I was glad to be rid of that guy, he was an all round scumbag.”
“I’m a home health nurse so I call out a lot, but this one is the most recent and most impacting on me. On the 15th I called 911 on my hospice patient’s wife. She was so weak she could not stand. She was shaking. O2 was 84, respiratory stats were 37. She was COVID positive.
It’s my most crazy because she was lucid, and she could refuse transport. To get her to go, I promised her I would take care of her spouse until she came home. She was placed on a vent Sunday the 18th. Her sons decided to withdraw care last night, and she passed at 1:10 this morning. I have gone to my patient’s home 3 times a day for the last 16 days, and will continue until he transitions.”
The Man In The Mirror
“This whole time renting a house I always claimed ‘someone has to break glass if they want to enter’
One night just as we were falling asleep .. maybe 2am. I just hear a loud bang and glass shatter.
I grab my weapon and yell ‘get out of here’ in probably the most demonic guttural yell I can muster half terrified half ready to kill this criminal who came into my land.
Told my wife to call 911 while I pretended to be brave.
On further investigation the heavy bathroom mirror fell off the wall, into our bathroom window, shattering it.”
“I was working in the warehouse at my job one day and heard a weird moaning/grunting sound coming from outside.
Couldn’t see anything for a minute and then looked across the street and saw a lady on ground who was making that noise but nobody else was around. I walked across the street and discovered she was bleeding from her head heavily. I booked it back to the office, ran in and screamed ‘LADY ACROSS THE STREET BLEEDING OUT HER HEAD’ to the mostly female office staff and called 911.
What happened was seriously one of the dumbest things ever, but she was walking in their warehouse space and someone was carrying a piece of lumber and did the classic turn and knocked her in the head way hard. I’ll say this, ain’t nothing slapstick about the sound that lady was making that’s for sure.”
The Last Thing He Said Was Call 911
“A friend of a friend basically overdosed and I called 911 to save his life. We were partying in the Hamptons all weekend – he imbibed nonstop. I didn’t realize he had done an insane mix of illegal substances. We were at the train station Sunday morning to go back to the city, he started dripping sweat – his arms locked up and he couldn’t move them. His legs started to become paralyzed then he was losing control of his face.
The last thing he said was ‘call 911’.
He didn’t drink any water that weekend and didn’t eat much, he had taken some sort of anti-anxiety medicine Sunday morning and his body like went into shock from all the substances he had taken all weekend.
The ambulance came and they had to cut his clothes off of him because he could barely move. I handled the whole situation well, to this day he says I saved his life – not totally sure. After the whole ordeal, I broke down crying. It was so mentally exhausting, it haunts me to this day.”
I Knew It Was A Problem
Wife and I met up with a buddy to have a little MJ and watch a game. I was a former chronic user who’d cut back in the prior year or so. She was a very casual user at best.
Buddy breaks out some concentrated hash oil. This was 2010-11 maybe? So oils and concentrates were way more unpredictable than now. Wife took a drag against my protest, and once I saw how much smoke she exhaled I knew it was a problem.
Fast forward maybe 20min and we have to leave. She’s starting to flip out and NEEDS to go right now. It’s a 30min drive and it’s all freeway. I’m 50/50 on willingness to drive, but she’s losing her mind and I figure I can tough it out. We go.
I’m just hitting a main road and entrance ramp when she really starts to flip. She’s hyperventilating and yelling about her chest getting hot. Says her skin is burning. Just LOSING her mind. I’m merging and she starts kicking the floor and dashboard, SCREAMING about exploding from the inside out.
It finally gets me. I panic. I pull over and call 911. I have to get out of the car because I can’t hear over her screaming. I report her sick and maybe having a medical reaction. (She happened to be taking vicodin after some dental work but she only took it before bed and hadn’t had it yet) It’s really fuzzy from here because the hash high plus the adrenaline is almost blacking me out.
In the next 5min she breaks from her hallucination and realizes what’s happened. She’s begging me now to just go and not you know, stick around high as a kite to talk to EMT’S or cops. Unfortunately the lights are already at the bottom of the ramp and coming up behind us.
To this day I have NO IDEA how they let me go. Adrenaline bailed me out big time I guess because once I explained (lied) she was fine now and just had a medication issue and they asked her a basic question or two they let us go.
Made it home without incident. She hasn’t touched anything containing like that since.”
That Time I Tried To Kill My Dad
“My dad had surgery on his neck a few years back because he was losing feeling in fingertips. He also enjoyed having an occasional joint every once in a while. So for Christmas I got him an automatic grinder so he could still partake without having to worry about his finger tips letting him down while rolling.
Well he wanted to try out his new gift so I show him how to use it and we imbibe. He’s used to a tightly rolled style hit… not an airy hit of a pre-rolled joint, I tell him don’t hit it like you normally would, but being stubborn he rolls his eyes, rips it goooood and blasts off to the moon.
A little while later, I walk into the kitchen to grab something to snack on and my dad comes walking, almost stumbling in, saying that he thinks he’s dying cuz his heart doesn’t feel right. Now mind you his family has a history of heart problems so it’s reason for concern, especially given his current mental state in the moment. I’m trying my best to talk him down, feeding him, getting him to drink water, nothing works. Then he nods off to sleep at the kitchen table but isn’t responding to me, I’m tapping his face shaking him, no response.
‘I think my gift just killed my dad’ is the first thought flying through my head. I grab my phone, call 9-1-1 and explain to them my dad isn’t responding to me and has a history of heart problems (yes I know I should have just been completely honest but I wasn’t thinking clearly and he’d been putting off getting his heart checked out anyway so it was as good of a time as ever for me to have him see a doctor for it) as I’m on the phone he starts coming down enough to explain what just happened to him. Rode to the ER in an ambulance and while in his room he snacked on some popsicles in the hospital, got a few necessary heart tests done, and he checked out healthy and sober.
To this day he tells me not to get him anything for Christmas/birthday/etc since I ‘tried to off him and got him a hospital bill for Christmas’ that year. I’ll never live it down but we have a good laugh about it whenever it’s brought up.
To sum it up, Dad had little to no feeling in his fingers so he could no longer roll up, got him an automatic grinder for Christmas. He used it once, got too high, and went to the hospital. So I got him a grinder and a hospital bill for Christmas.”