The Key To The Problem Is Not The Key

| UK | Working | December 7, 2016

(I do vehicle maintenance admin for a regional ambulance service. This is both emergency and patient transport. I get a call from a PT team leader based at a small station.)

Team Leader: “Hi, we’re missing the keys for [vehicle number]. Do you know if it was cleaned last night?”

Me: *checks* “No, it looks like the cleaners haven’t been to [Station] yet this week.”

Team Leader: “Oh. I’ll just go check with the crew.” *talks to ambulance crew and returns* “They say that they gave the keys to the cleaners, and the last time they saw it, it was being cleaned in the garage. The cleaners must have taken them and we need them back right now.”

Me: *knowing where this will lead* “Okay, well, the cleaners work night shifts, so they won’t be at work right now. I can ask their supervisor to get in touch with them at home, though.”

(This is deemed a necessity, since we can’t have working ambulances off the road. I call the supervisor and explain. Ten minutes later, the team leader calls back again.)

Team Leader: “We can’t actually find the vehicle either. We’re worried the cleaners might have taken it, since they have the keys. It’s needed urgently on the road and we’re already low on vehicles today. Our response level will be affected because of this.”

(I then relay the information to the supervisor. They call me back an hour later, since the cleaners didn’t pick up at first. I get in touch with Team Leader.)

Me: “Our supervisor has been in touch with the cleaners, but they haven’t been to that station last night–”

Team Leader: “Oh, I was meaning to call you back. We found the vehicle. It was actually outside in the car park and, uh… one of the crew had the keys in his pocket. Sorry about that.”

(That station was tiny! It had FIVE vehicles allocated to it! How could they not notice one outside? And why did they never ask crews to check themselves for keys before automatically assuming that cleaners took them? Those kind of issues happened so often that we raised it with management. But crews are the life-savers, so it didn’t matter how they behave.)

They’re Probably Grumpy In The Daytime Too

, | Norman, OK, USA | Right | October 27, 2016

(I work as a dispatcher for a university police department. I work night shift. I stay up all night even on my days off. It is about two or three in the morning and the phone rings.)

Me: “[My Name], Police Department.”

Caller: *an older female* “Y’all need to turn your stadium lights off!”

(Football is a religion in this town. The gigantic football stadium is practically right in the middle of everything, and its lights are often kept on at night for workers.)

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Caller: “I’m trying to sleep and those d*** lights are shining right into my house!”

Me: I’m sorry about that, ma’am. It’s up to the athletic department to turn the lights on and off, but I can pass it along to my lieutenant and see if anything can be done.”

Caller: *further ranting about not being able to sleep and how inconsiderate the university is, etc. before hanging up*

(Had I not been on a recorded line, I might have pointed out the irony to her in calling a night shift worker in the middle of the night and complaining about not being able to sleep to someone who has to sleep in the middle of the day. With the noise. And the light. And the traffic…)

Maybe The Operator Was Young

| Milwaukee, WI, USA | Working | October 22, 2016

(My father and I are driving home one night when he sees a driver driving erratically down the road. He is concerned that there is an accident risk, so he calls 911 using the car’s phone linkup. Note for the record that my father used to be a cops reporter and is very familiar with emergency services.)

Operator: “911, what is your emergency?”

Father: “I’m driving down [Street] and there’s another car swerving on and off the road and between lanes. I think the driver might be drunk. It’s a black [Brand] SUV, license plate [Numbers] WVY; William Victor Young.”

Operator: “You know this person? How long have you known Mr. Young?”

Father: “Really?”

(To our knowledge, they never did catch that driver!)

Their Consideration Comes Crashing Down

| ME, USA | Right | October 16, 2016

(I’m on bike patrol when I hear on the radio that a man suffered a heart attack while driving and crashed his truck in the middle of a busy bridge in our city. I pedal over to offer any assistance for traffic control, and see that there are two ambulances already arrived and the paramedics are actively performing CPR on the driver in the middle of the road. The regular patrol officers are diverting traffic carefully but slowly past the scene, so I pedal back to the beginning of the bridge to signal drivers to slow down as they approach.)

Man: *in his car, rolling down window* “Hey! What the f*** is the hold up here?!”

Me: “There was a crash on the bridge up ahead.”

Man: “Well, they should really do something about the f****** traffic!”

Me: “Sir, I think they’re doing the best they can, but like I said, there was a CRASH on the bridge. I think they’re a bit preoccupied at this moment.”

Man: “Well, they need to do something about this f****** traffic! I have places to be and s*** to do! This is f****** bull-s***!”

Me: “SIR, there are paramedics up there right now, doing CPR on someone as we speak! You’re just going to have to be patient.”

Man: “I don’t see why I should be inconvenienced because of this! You people need to do your jobs and move the f****** traffic!”

Me: “EXCUSE ME, SIR! There is someone up there, RIGHT NOW, actively DYING in the middle of the road. So just SIMMER DOWN and shut up, because your problems are just not that important right now!”

Man: “Well, they’re important to me!”

(He rolled up his window with a scowl and continued honking, making impatient gestures, and easing as obnoxiously close to the car in front of him as possible the entire time it took him to get past the scene of the crash.)

Doesn’t Have The Head For This Kind Of Work

| Buffalo, NY, USA | Right | August 25, 2016

(I work as a dispatcher for my hometown.)

Me: “911, what’s your emergency?”

Caller: “My husband has been lying on the couch moaning in pain all day; I think he needs to go to the hospital. My address is [address].”

Me: “Okay, an ambulance is on the way. Did your husband eat anything unusual today?”

Caller: “No.”

Me: “Does he have any allergies?”

Caller: “No.”

Me: “Where did he say the pain is coming from?”

Caller: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Okay, but did he do anything unusual today that could cause his pain?”

Caller: “Um, well, he shot himself in the head this morning.”

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