25 Of The Oddest And Funniest 911 Calls Dispatchers Have Received

Published 4 months ago

Emergency dispatchers often deal with serious and urgent situations, but sometimes, the calls they receive can be unexpectedly amusing. In a viral Reddit thread, dispatchers shared some of the most memorable and amusing emergency calls they’ve encountered. From panicked reports of spiders mistaken for dangerous intruders to calls about pets getting stuck in strange places, these stories highlight the quirky and sometimes humorous side of human behaviour. 

While the situations may not always be life-threatening, they serve as a reminder that even in moments of stress, laughter can provide a welcome relief. So let’s dive into these entertaining anecdotes and appreciate the lighter moments that dispatchers encounter while serving their communities.

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#1 Woman called to report seeing a shark in the ocean. Yes, ma’am. That is where we keep them.

Image source: que_he_hecho, Jakob Owens

#2 Not an operator but one time I went to a local library to do work as my home was filled with loud guests. I’m there for a couple hours and I saw I had 25 mins left. So I packed all my stuff up and brought it to the bathroom so I could take a s**t, not leave my stuff unattended and the immediately just leave.

Image source: theyoungreezy, matthew Feeney

Y’all they locked me in.

The librarians thought I left. The whole place was empty and dark. I walked right out the front door, which was locked, and triggered the alarm. Now not to throw race into into it but I’m a big Latino man in a very very white and upper class part of my state. So there was a real sense of fear I had lol. I didn’t want to be caught driving away from this scene in case any Karens were peeping out their windows.

I had to call the cops on myself and explain that I got locked in the library while taking a s**t and the operator is dying. Cops show up and one of them goes, so you like breaking in and taking s**ts huh? I went white as a ghost and started immediately bumbling my words. They brought the whole department out because they thought it was the funniest s**t. Thankfully they were cool and just laughed at my dumba*s.

#3 Ok ex-911 dispatcher/EMT-I here, so while on light duty due to injury working rescue calls I was trained to do 911 call intakes in Florida and worked midnight shifts (always the craziest type of calls) I receive a call from a hysterical teenage boy.

Image source: Armymomdeb, Pawel Czerwinski

After getting him to calm down he tells me that his friend has been swallowed up by a tube monster. (??) So I asked him where this tube monster is at? Are you there with the tube monster right now? He says yes he can hear his friend, but he is trapped. After finally being able to get the location of the caller (this is in the ’90s) Units are called to the scene – police, fire, and ambulance. Now I have been on the phone for over 20 mins with this young man and had him stay on the phone until help arrived. Then he says, “Man my dad’s gonna [end] me”. I asked him why? He says ’cause I promised him I wouldn’t drop acid anymore, and we’ve been trippin’ all night. So I had to get on the radio and advise crews coming in of the current mental status of both caller and victim. When crews arrived they found the teen at the bottom of a hill stuck inside of an actual plastic tube they had been climbing inside of and rolling each other down said hill while tripping. The teen had to be extricated. The other teen was found by the payphone awaiting dad’s wrath.

#4 (Pre-911, before addresses were automatically shown) A couple [making love] knocked the phone off the night stand and they had the police on speed dial.

Image source: SpaceCadetBob, Kindel Media

I thought she was being choked out so I had the phone company track the address and sent the cavalry. When they pounded on the front door I heard the woman say “Oh my God there are five cop cars outside!” The guy went downstairs and she picked up the phone and said “hello?” I said hello, ma’am, this is the police. Are you ok?” She said, “I’m fine. We were uh… busy.” I said I had been listening for the last few minutes and she said “Oh… we must have knocked the phone on the floor.”

The patrol guys told the guy they had to see her in person at the same time I was talking to her. She came downstairs so they could verify she was ok. They said she was pretty embarrassed.

#5 112 Operator here.

Image source: M3nsch3n, Karolina Grabowska

I had a woman who wanted to report herself dead. Like not in she wanted to commit [self-harm] (DO NOT DO THAT! There is help and if you have these thoughts please talk to people or a doc about this!) but she was sure that she died. A somewhat normal middle aged woman and she called 112 (medics and fire, 110 is for cops) so we would get her a morgue. It was my strangest call ever to tell a person, who was very much alive talking to me, that in fact she was not dead. We sent an ambualnce (for free, long live the eu-healthcaresystem).In the end it turned out to be a shroom induced psychosis EDIT: Yeah weird, but also funny afterwards.

#6 A guy calls from a payphone to complain that he has a pipe wrench stuck up his butt and he needed an ambulance. He gave his location as the corner where the payphone was located. I asked him if he could tell me his appearance so I could be sure the medics could find him. His response, “look dude, I’ll be the only guy on the corner with a pipe wrench in his butt.” I couldn’t argue with that…

Image source: nlderek, Emilian Robert Vicol

#7 Not the operator but told by an operator friend of mine:

Image source: SmartyMarty85, Remy Lovesy

Woman calls up to allege that her car has been sexually soiled by a car washer.
She had left her car with a valet service while she was shopping, picked it up and drove it home before she noticed a white mark on her passenger seat. She’s convinced it was spunk, so she calls the police to report it.
Operator asked if she had complained to the company, which she had. They had advised her that the soap they use for fabrics sometimes leaves a mark when it dries and if she just gives it a quick rub, it will go.
She then tells the operator that she knows the company is lying because she put her finger on it and then tasted it, and it was definitely spunk and she “knows very well what spunk tastes like.”
Somehow the operator convinced her to complain further to the valeting company and ended the call before falling off his chair laughing.

#8 I remember a story about these kids that bought 20 pounds of weed in one state and tried to take it back home. They got too high and thought they were being followed by cops as they saw a bunch on the journey back. They pulled over called dispatch and told them where they were and that they were going to wait for the cops to come arrest them for bringing weed across state lines. Police had no idea wtf they were talking about but went and arrested them for trafficking.

Image source: copewithlifebyliving, cottonbro studio

#9 I’m a 911 operator for the ambulance service. Was processing a call one time that required a Cantonese interpreter over the phone as the caller did not speak English. Was told by the interpreter the caller was phoning for her husband who had abdominal pain and was constipated for over a week. The caller and the interpreter then go back and forth talking for some time before I interrupt.

Image source: BobbyBish, Justin Henry

Me: Sorry interpreter, what is she saying?

Interpreter: Um.. I’m just making sure I’ve understood what she’s asking correctly

Me: What is she asking?

Interpreter: she’s asking if she can help it out.. using a spoon..

Me: …No no tell her not to do that.

She later referred to where the pain was as his “poo pipe” but at least that one made sense.

#10 I had to make a 999 call once (uk) and felt like a twat afterwards. My daughter who was 1 at the time was crying in her cot so went to check on her and some how she had got her head stuck between the bars, I tried for a good 10 mins to get her out to no avail had to call the fire brigade to come out. Must of sounded stupid “my babies heads stuck in her cot bars” anyway fire come out lights and sirens the whole 9 yards, 4 burly fireman come in and try to pry the bars…nope. end up getting washing up liquid and lots of gentle tugging and out pops the wee ones head ffs.

Image source: nonameneeded2340, Pavel Danilyuk

Also heard on a radio station a call recording of a fella who called 999 about a strange object in the sky after much chat he finally realised it was the moon!

#11 I was the caller. My deck had a couple unsafe spots. Normally I avoided them just fine, but on this night, it had snowed. I stepped outside for just a minute, because snow is very rare here. In doing so, I forgot about the unsafe spots. I stepped on one, and my leg dropped through.

Image source: ArmyOfDog, Scott Broome

As I fell, the boards on either side of my leg bent, but then retracted. The hole was smaller than my knee now. I couldn’t get out.

My girlfriend got me a coat to sit on, because my butt was already starting to get cold, and we called 911. Fortunately, I live so close to the fire department, they were there in less than 3 minutes. I live so close, had I Wilhelm screamed as I fell, they’d have likely heard me and arrived even faster.

But four super strong firemen couldn’t pull me out either, and I will add to that, that I think the first half of this sentence would be fairly humorous out of context. Anyway, one of them went to get a chainsaw out of the fire truck, and while we waited, I started singing “The Pit” from Parks and Rec, and they all joined in with me, and we had a good laugh about my situation.

Other than having a sore, purple leg for a few days, I was fine. I bought them all coffee a few days later. Super fun guys. 10/10. Would definitely be rescued by them again.

#12 My kid worked for animal control, we are eating dinner and 911 dispatch calls him. Some panicked lady had called 911 about an owl in a tree that couldn’t fly. It had been sitting in the tree for a half hour not moving. Of course it was just before dusk and the owl was just waiting for dark so it could go hunt for dinner. Then there was the call about the one legged duck at the park…

Image source: Canoe52, Dominik Van Opdenbosch

Edit to add: he actually went to the park to make sure the duck wasn’t injured but realized after 15 minutes how silly he looked chasing after this one legged duck that was outrunning him.

#13 My late aunt once called 911 because my uncle wouldn’t change the fan that was blowing on her. Because it was a small community in NE Michigan, the police laughed and came out and changed the fan.

Image source: barrel-getya, Delaney Van

#14 At a long term care facility I worked at One of our residents called 911 with the phone in her room because she didnt get ketchup with her lunch. Not kidding. The sherrifs office called back to let the nurses know what she’d done while I was standing right there. I’ve never laughed so hard at work.

Image source: damnit_jen, Erik Mclean

#15 I had to discard the ‘funny to us but too hard to explain why because of our dark and wildly inappropriate sense of humor’ stories to find an appropriate one but here it is.

Image source: anon, Gabin Vallet

A man called and said he dislocated his shoulder. He sounded sort of funny and like he was caught in something so I asked him if he had fallen or something. “No… I was putting on a thermal shirt and my shoulder popped out and now I’m stuck. I was going to drive myself to the hospital but I’d have to drive with my arm out of the window”. Ambulance was dispatched for a shirt extrication and transport.

#16 When I was a 911 calltaker I got a call from a gentleman reporting an issue with his toilet. For whatever reason it was a bit hard for me to understand exactly what the problem was, except that it definitely involved his toilet. After a little while, I determined to the best of my ability that the toilet was overflowing and he didn’t know what to do. Although plumbing issues are absolutely not an appropriate reason for calling 911, it wasn’t unheard of. To a certain extent I can understand the thought process and people have certainly called 911 for less.

Image source: anon, Gabor Monori

After a bit more talking, however, I realized that he had not called about a plumbing issue. You see, it wasn’t water that was coming out of his toilet, but demons. The demons were spilling out of his toilet and he needed help. I put in a complaint for the police (I know, cops for a mental health issue is not idea, but it’s the only thing we had) and kept him on the phone as he was fairly distressed. Unfortunately, it was a busy evening and the cops wouldn’t be able to get to him for a few minutes. As such, I asked if he could close the toilet lid. He said he could and he did. Did this stop the demons from coming out of his toilet? It did! This made him much more calm and I was able to release the call. Can’t remember what ended up happening with him. I’d guess he was taken to the local ER that had a psychiatric crisis center voluntarily. But it stands out as the time I solved a caller’s toilet demon problem with a very straight-forward solution.

#17 My mom was a 911 operator in the SF Bay area in the 80s and 90s. I asked her to tell me a story to pass along, so here it is:

Image source: SooperDiz, Timothy Dykes

I got a 911 call and I couldn’t understand the caller. He was slurring his words. I knew he was calling from a bar so I asked if he’d been drinking and after asking many times of asking, I was able to determine that he wanted the police, not an ambulance. He wanted to file assault charges because a woman pulled his tongue. I asked, “how was she able to pull your tongue?” and he said, “because I stuck it out at her.” I had to keep muting the call because I was laughing so hard.

Apparently my supervisor went on to play this call in seminars for years and always got a ton of laughter.

#18 When I was still in training, my supervisor would play back training 911 calls for me to listen to and dispatch. In one call, the caller says that their friend is dying and that they’re in their car and they’ve pulled over on an access road near a busy restaurant. As the dispatcher asks more questions, we discover that the caller is holding their friend’s internal organs in her hands. Dispatch asks all the questions and eventually the caller says that their friend was hit by a car crossing the busy street in front of the restaurant. Dispatch keeps talking to her until a unit arrived on scene. They disconnect the call and the next thing you hear is the unit keying up and trying to hold back the laughter as he reported that the victim had died of their injuries prior to his arrival. And that the victim was a squirrel.

Image source: Emeraldwillow

#19 I had a call from a male who said he needed an ambulance because “the beans are out of the pod.”

Image source: que_he_hecho, Marco Verch

Not being entirely sure what he meant I asked a few more questions. Seems he had an argument with his wife and things got physically violent. She grabbed his genitals tightly with her hand. He pushed her away. She did not let go. It ripped open.

I dispatched the ambulance for a “testicular degloving” injury, as well as the police. Ambulance made me repeat the dispatch and then called by phone to confirm. Couldn’t believe their ears.

#20 I’m not a 911 operator but I got a funny 911 call story.

Image source: Dethscare, RDNE Stock project

My older cousin Steve lived with his parents at age 45. He’s always been a strange one. Apparently he was constipated and instead of behaving like a normal adult and taking some exlax or stool softener, he decided it was indeed an emergency and called 911. He begged my aunt and uncle to help them but they didn’t want anything to do with his 6’8” 380lbs a*s problems. By the time the EMTS got there, Cousin Steve was naked, prying apart his butt cheeks demanding that they “get the s**t out of his a*s.” The emergency medical techs explained to him that he should really just try some OTC meds vs paying for the cost of an ambulance and hospital trip. I wish I could have seen this go down.. or maybe not. In the end, he stayed home and eventually took a ginormous dump. Yep. That’s my family. God bless the EMTs of the world.

#21 Not 911 but worked for animal control dispatch in a tourist town during my senior year in HS.

Image source: domods, Scott Carroll

Got a call from a lady that had called 911 previously and was told to call our number. Picked up the phone to what sounded like a whole car of very panicked people all yelling at once. After asking what was wrong several times I finally heard someone yell “a deer! There’s a deer in somebody’s yard, yall gotta come pick it up!” Thinking it was a dead deer/road kill I said an animal control officer would come pick up the body soon. And a kid in the background starts bawling saying the officer was gonna kill it! So I paused for a second and asked is the deer alive? What is it doing? Someone far away from the phone yelled “its just sitting there in the yard! So I said “Yeah this is Texas. He lives there. Just don’t touch him or get too close and y’all will be ok.” Literally not even 5 minutes later we got a call from another tourist about a deer chasing a family after they tried to take a selfie with it…. To this say I’m still not sure if it was the same family, but wow. I hope it was.

#22 A young kid called and asked to talk to the fire trucks. It was pretty late at night so I told him the firetrucks were already sleeping and asked him to put a parent on the phone.

Image source: I_only_eat_triangles, Acton Crawford

Another time, the caller said “is this the krust krab?”. Reflex kicked in, and I replied “no, this is Patrick” before I even realized what had happened.

#23 112 From Europe. Man, I can’t count them all.

Image source: Sauronus, David Clode

* A man called to say he’s wrestling with deadly 10m (32-33 ft) snake in his backyard. He was very scared and although I wasn’t sure how did a 10m snake appeared in his backyard I send the emergency to the police. They even called him back, but his father answered. The conversation was quite funny:

> Hello, sir. Police here. Is this Mr. Y?

> His father.

> Do you know where your son is?

> I don’t know. Went to the backyard I guess.

>Maybe you should check on him. He might be fighting for his life against a deadly snake.

Turned out the guy was *a little* high and was wrestling with a bush.

* Dude wanted an ambulance because he needed to check if his girlfriend was pregnant or not. I heard her in the back saying “But my period is over 2 months late!” and he was like “no, no, no. A doctor needs to see it first”. He didn’t want to accept that it was not an emergency, and couldn’t understand how gynecologists usualy aren’t in an ambulance.

* Not sure if stories about people with mental illnesses should qualify, but there are some strong contenders like the queen of hamsters (that’s how she introduced herself) whose internet connection apparently was cut off because she did not like one of our politicians. But she does now and she wants her internet back.

* A man wanted to prank his friend and hid in his kitchen behind sink. He couldn’t get out and Fire Brigade was needed to free him.

#24 Colleague, let’s call her Sharon, answered this one. Sharon was from West Africa, and spoke excellent English with an accent that was mix of a British and her native language. I was her supervisor and listened in on this call.

Image source: que_he_hecho, scientistbarbie89

Male caller: My wife is trying to [end] me.
Sharon: What did she do?
Male caller: She put a mothball in my crack pipe.
Sharon: A what? Male caller: A mothball! Sharon: A mothball?
Male callet: A mothball.
Sharon: (as an aside to me, What is a mothball?)

The What? A mothball! exchange was repeated a few times. Though Sharon’s English was excellent “mothball” was one word she was unfamiliar with. And something about her accent as she kept repeating this just got to me.

Listening in I had a hard time stifling a laugh and couldn’t compose myself enough to explain and get the dispatch out for a few moments. I explained mothbslls to Sharon after the call ended.

Ambulance sent due to possible lung damage from inhaling fumes from a burning mothball. Police sent for the crack pipe.

#25 Not an operator. But I had a friend in high school who got addicted to [illegal substances]. Years after she got out of rehab she told me the story about how she ended up in rehab.

Image source: zachslow, Sebastian Herrmann

She had called the police on herself because, “there are demons living in my walls and I’d like the police to come remove them.”

When she sobered up, she also realized she didn’t live next to a pool. That’s important because while she was high she would sit outside and watch people swim. She did that for two years. Even though there was no pool.

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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911, 911 calls, dispatcher, fails, funny, operator
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