When Unexpected Guests Come Calling

One afternoon, a neighbor met us at the mailbox as we picked up our mail before going into our house. There had been a lot of excitement in our neighborhood when a police car, a fire truck and an ambulance arrived about an hour before.  All of these vehicles came roaring into the neighborhood with the sirens wailing.   The neighbors all came outside and were watching and wondering what was going on.  Was there a fire down the street?  Had someone fallen and broken a bone?  Was someone having a heart attack or a stroke?  Had there been a domestic disturbance fight behind closed doors and someone injured? The neighbors were all standing and speculating together about what was happening inside the house where all these vehicles stopped.

First, the police circled the entire house outside and tried all the first floor windows and doors trying to get inside, but all were securely locked.  On the back of the house, one of the policemen was finally able to open a lower window and got into the house.  The first policeman in the house ran up the stairs and opened the front door for the EMT and firemen to enter.  Soon the firemen and paramedics were inside the house searching room to room.  Next they looked to see if there was special medication in the kitchen or bathroom.  After a thorough search of the house and yard, they all left without bringing anyone outside on a stretcher.  No one was at home in this house!!  Someone had called 911 from the phone number for this house!

Our neighbor was talking about OUR house.  He wanted to know, “Are you guys okay?”  That is when I realized that I had accidentally made this phone call earlier that day!  I sheepishly admitted to my husband and our neighbor, that I had accidentally dialed 911 that morning and had hung up before it went through!  Or, so I had thought!

I made a phone call to one of my friends that morning that required a long distance area code (913) before the number was dialed.  I tried to call her number and realized that I had entered the wrong area code and hung up right away.  I re-dialed her number and got her immediately and we had a nice phone conversation.  Then we were off to the fitness center for a two mile walk and did some errands before we got back home.

Our kitchen telephone was getting older and some of the numbers on the keypad were starting to stick.  One of the sticky numbers was the number “1”.  So I had accidentally hit the number 1 twice, making it call ‘911’ instead of ‘913’.

I was starting to sweat as I was thinking about the huge charge for a fire-truck, an ambulance and a police car to all make a ‘dry run’ to our house.  I was getting more concerned by the minute over the thought of this big bill we were probably getting soon. My husband wasn’t saying anything!

I started thinking about the policeman carefully checking each window and finally finding a loose one to open and getting inside the house without breaking any glass.  I was really grateful for this!

Then I began thinking about the extra leaves and small amount of mud on our stairs and all these men going through our house!  And there was my personal pink ‘unmentionable’ laundry hanging above the dryer for all of them to see! The house was a mess with the dirty dishes in the sink and clutter on the counters and tables.  And the EMT’s went through our prescription meds to see what we were taking as these were scattered a bit on our kitchen table.

The only REAL evidence that they had been in the house was the police sergeant name card left on our kitchen counter beside my husband’s medications. That was a bit scary and creepy to find there! Not a note or anything else!

So, my husband said I needed to call the police and let them know what had happened.  I looked up the local police number for NON-emergency calls and talked to the nice policewoman who answered the phone.  I explained that our phone had a sticky number keypad and that I had accidentally called 911 that morning, but had hung up as I didn’t think the call had gone through.  She thanked me for calling and explaining.  I was cringing at the thought of the bill that might be coming soon!

We immediately went to Best Buy and bought a new phone that day! Thankfully, no bill has appeared for all the emergency vehicles that responded that day many months ago.  What a relief!

So, if you accidentally call the local police station because your old phone has a sticky phone keyboard, be very aware of what happens.  The available local police, paramedics and firemen will soon be at your door, breaking into your house and checking your house with a thorough room to room search. They will check all your prescription and other meds in the cabinet and on the counter.  They will be noticing your underwear hanging out to dry! And they will see that you are just a so-so housekeeper.  My Mother told me to always be ready for unexpected guests, but not those I had accidentally invited myself!


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10 thoughts on “When Unexpected Guests Come Calling”

  1. I allowed my youngest daughter (5 at the time) and a friend to stay in the lobby once when her brother and sister had a doctor appointment. I could clearly see her except when she ran around the corner, but she always returned. The police soon arrived and wanted to know who had been in the lobby repeatedly dialing 911 and hanging up. Guess who the culprits were.

  2. I called a client whose number ended with 911, and was surprised to find myself talking to an emergency operator. I was speechless! Policy is they MUST send someone, so me and my wife greeted the officer at the door when he showed minutes later. Poor guy had orange on his face from eating Cheetos with his lunch, a lunch our call had pulled him from. Oh well. We all had a good laugh over it and I did joking try to convince him that my wife was abusing me, but he wasn’t buying it. Poor me, huh? So hey, welcome to the club! 🙂

  3. One of my kids dialed 911 on the cordless phone once. It had 9-1-1 on the screen and though they hadn’t hit talk, there wasn’t really a way to “fix it” outside of pulling the battery (which I should have done). I hit talk and then hang up in immediate succession to get rid of the digits. Still went through (as is designed). They called me back and I told them what happened though, so they didn’t come and see my pink underwear.

  4. Wow, that’s good to know. I never realized they would still come if you hung up. You have a great story to tell now.

  5. At least you find the humor in all of it.

    I don’t know of any municipality that charges for 911 calls. Especially when it’s a mistake.

    However, it’s encouraging to know that a prompt, professional and thorough response is the result.

  6. Hey, the bright side is they did respond to such a short ring when there are so many reports that the phone will ring and ring when calling 9111 and no one picking up. Still, ….

  7. Oh my! I could see why you would be nervous about the costs! In Villanova, PA they charge you if you had an accident and need emergency care. I can’t imagine what they would charge for a mistake!

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