Thursday, March 5, 2009
911, This Isn't An Emergency, But ...
Note to the frustrated, the lonely and the hungry: 911 operators don't care if your fast-food order was incomplete.
911 operators say they've gotten calls for everything from traffic reports to incomplete fast food orders.
They don't want to have to give you a traffic report. And, no, they don't play matchmaker.
Yet every few months, audio is released detailing trivial -- if not ridiculous -- calls to emergency officials. The calls prompt giggles and provide popular fodder for blogs, YouTube and e-mail chains but are a very real nuisance to the authorities who are obligated to respond.
"We deal with prank calls and people checking in for the time of day," St. Lucie [Fla.] County Public Safety 911 operations coordinator Tiffany Bennett told ABCNews.com. "When you pick up that phone, you never know what's on the other end."
Her center has also gotten calls asking about holiday parade routes and how to fix a washing machine.
"Of course, you are going to giggle at some of the sillier stuff," she said.
'My McNuggets Are an Emergency'
Bennett's dispatchers took three 911 calls last week from a Fort Pierce woman who complained that McDonald's refused to give her a refund when they ran out of McNuggets.
US authorities say a Florida woman phoned 911 three times after McDonald's employees told her they were out of Chicken McNuggets.
According to a police report, 27-year-old Fort Pierce resident Latreasa L. Goodman told authorities she paid for a 10-piece last week but was later informed the restaurant had run out.
She said employees refused to give her a refund, saying all sales were final. A cashier told police she offered Goodman a larger portion of different food for the same price, but Goodman became irate.
Police say Goodman was cited on a misuse of 911 charge.
"This is an emergency. If I would have known they didn't have McNuggets, I wouldn't have given my money, and now she wants to give me a McDouble, but I don't want one," Goodman told police. "This is an emergency."
Dispatchers for 911 told police Goodman called the emergency number three times and on each occasion was told an officer was en route.
A McDonald's spokeswoman said the company did not immediately have a comment on the incident.