The Scamming Was Bad But Then Things Got Gross

, , , , | Legal | October 24, 2020

I used to volunteer for my township’s all-volunteer first aid squad. Some years prior, we had removed a volunteer for a variety of reasons, including being unfit for duty. Prior to that, when he was still on the squad, he told me an hour-long story about how he was working as an EMT in Manhattan on 9/11. He had my complete attention and sympathy while he told me how he was injured and could not walk inside one of the towers when a policeman came by and carried him out to safety.

Following his removal from the squad, it started coming out that the whole story he told me was a lie and he was scamming foundations and other groups out of money and services. At the time, though, nobody could prove that he was a scam artist. I felt personally affronted, as he had originally had me hook, line, and sinker when he told me his fake story. Because of this, I was very vocal about how I felt about him, and he knew it.

Fast forward several years. It is a Friday night and I am on duty to take calls for an ambulance in my township. The township high school is playing a football game, and since the school requires an ambulance to be stationed at the game, we have a second rig there. Partway through the game, my pager goes off, announcing a call for a stabbing at the game. My crew heads that way. When we arrive, we see that the other ambulance is already on the scene rendering care. Since it would be the responsibility of my ambulance to transport to the hospital, we decide to leave the patient on that ambulance and just switch crews.

I enter the side of the other rig to see the victim receiving care for his wound by the other crew. But who else is there? The scammer! I look him in the eye.

Me: *Calmly* “You can leave my ambulance now.”

Scammer: “I will not. I’ve started rendering care here and I am going to see it through to the end.”

Me: “We have it under control. Exit my ambulance.”

Scammer: “No.”

Me: “You must leave immediately; you are not wanted here.”

He looks down to the floor, picks something up, and throws it at my face. I do not have time to react; we are only five feet apart. The object hits me square in my face and then falls toward my hands, where I catch it. It is only then that I realize it is the bloody shirt from the stabbing victim! And this is in front of three witnesses directly inside the ambulance.

I immediately drop it to the floor and then proceed to lose my cool. I move around the victim on the stretcher toward the scammer/assaulter. I get loud. I am not even sure what I say exactly, but something to the effect of, “How dare he expose my eyes and hands to a bodily fluid?!”

The scammer/assaulter quickly jumps out the back of the ambulance. I follow, still shouting. He runs away. Within five seconds, I realize that a police officer was standing right there taking a witness statement but is now staring at me in surprise, as he has never seen me act this way. I look at him and apologize, telling him that I will talk to him later.

We transported the victim to the hospital and he turned out to be okay. After finishing up with the transport, I called my squad captain to report what had happened. He told me to go directly to the police station and file charges.

Some months later, it was time to go to court for the trial of the scammer/assaulter. He had a lawyer and pleaded guilty. I talked to the prosecutor, who recommended punishment to the judge. I knew there would be no jail time, but I requested the maximum fine, to be earmarked as a donation to the first aid squad. He agreed. So did the judge.

It was some years later that an investigative reporter contacted me. He was looking into the scammer. I happily provided all the information that was known to me. His two-night piece aired a few weeks later, and it 100% exposed the scammer for what he was: a guy taking advantage of a national tragedy for money and sympathy. Now, THAT was sweet justice!

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Many Hands Make Light Work

, , , , , , | Healthy | October 22, 2020

I used to volunteer with my town’s first aid squad. Most of the calls would be relatively minor in nature, but every once in a while, a true life-or-death emergency would occur.

This story occurs on the day of a blizzard with over twelve inches of snow already on the ground. We get a call for chest pain and begin to head toward the house as quickly as is safely possible. As we get onto side streets, a township snow plow meets up with us to plow the road in front of the ambulance.

We arrive at the house to see a driveway on a steep incline that is, of course, covered with snow. We all make our way up without falling and go into the house. We find a patient having a true heart emergency and in need of the hospital immediately. Our team leader takes over.

Team Leader: “[Colleague #1] and [Colleague #2], go get the snow shovels out of the rig and start making a pathway to get [Patient] out. [My Name], get [this equipment], [that equipment], and [other equipment] and bring it inside.

The three of us went outside. The other two started shoveling a pathway while I started grabbing the necessary equipment. As I started carrying it up to the house, a neighbor with a snowblower made his way over and started clearing the snow from the driveway. Suddenly, two more neighbors with snowblowers arrived and joined in the effort. On my second trip outside, I watched as two teenagers with shovels ran over and started clearing off the steps. A moment later, yet another neighbor appeared with a bag of sand and she began to coat the steps & driveway to improve traction.

We were able to get the patient down the driveway, into the ambulance, and safely to the hospital, where he made a full recovery. And my faith in humanity? Restored!

This story is part of our Most Inspirational Of 2020 roundup!

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Out Of Touch With The Touch Screens

, , , , , | Working | October 21, 2020

In our office, we have two models of desk phones: the older model has a series of buttons up and down each side and the newer model has just a touch screen. All of the functions are similar, except — as I find out — one of them.

Coworker: “Hey, [My Name], why don’t you blind-transfer calls?”

Me: “Uh… because I didn’t get shown how to do that. Also, what is that?”

Coworker: “It’s where you transfer, but it shows the number of the person you’re transferring instead of yours.”

Me: Oh! How do you do that?!”

Coworker: “You hit the transfer button twice before typing in the extension.”

Me: “Ah, that’ll be a problem.”

Coworker: “What do you mean?”

Me: “I’ve got the touch screen phone. Once you hit ‘transfer,’ the only options are ‘dial’ and ‘cancel.’”

Coworker: “Well, just hit it twice.”

Me: “There’s nothing to hit twice; you hit it the first time and it goes away.”

Coworker: “No, just hit the button twice.”

Me: “I don’t have a button. It’s a touch screen.”

Coworker: “Look, if you just don’t want to do it, then say so. You don’t have to—”

Me: “Would you just come to my desk and look?!”

She did. I pointed it out. She at least admitted she hadn’t realized, although I didn’t get an actual “sorry” out of her!

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The Museum Does Not Serve Whine

, , , , | Right | October 16, 2020

I am a press information officer for a large city. When you work in the front lines of government service, you deal with who I call the “regular whiners,” who are constantly complaining.

They show up at EVERY Municipal Council meeting and complain to the Council, invariably going over their allotted time. They denounce the Mayor (whoever the incumbent is), the Council (whoever they are), and the whole boiling setup.

I get the spillover calls, and the most frequent caller is this one woman. She gets forwarded to me by the mayor’s office every four weeks to complain about… something, but it is invariably something I can do nothing about.

One of our museums is holding a major evening event, long-planned, long-advertised. Five hours before the event, she calls to complain.

Caller: “This event will mess up traffic in my neighborhood! Please move the whole thing to another date.”

I am stunned by this bizarre request.

Me: “For that, you should complain to the museum’s leadership.”

Caller: “Do you have their phone number?”

Me: “No, I don’t, actually, and given how busy they are, I don’t think they’re answering the phone today. Why don’t you send them an email?”

Caller: “I don’t have a computer.”

Me: “Well, why don’t you just head over to the library two blocks from your home and use theirs?”

Caller: “I’m disabled in the fingers. I prefer to call.”

Me: “So that would prevent you from writing them a note and walking that over?”

At this point, I just want my pals at the museum to laugh their heads off at the situation.

Caller: “I told you, I’m disabled in the fingers!”

Me: “But you could still walk over there and complain.”

Caller: “It’s too far to walk!”

Me: “Well, then I’m out of ideas, Mrs. [Caller]. I don’t know what to say or how to help you.”

Caller: *Angry* “That’s what my Council Member’s aide said when I called them a few minutes ago! Nobody wants to help me!”

“Maybe that’s because you’re an annoying whiner,” I think, “and nobody wants to talk to you.”

Me: “I’m sorry I can’t help you, Mrs. [Caller].”

She hangs up. I wait for fifteen seconds and call the mayor’s office.

Me: “Folks, for the past twenty years, you have been transferring Mrs. [Caller] to me. I can’t help her with her problems. Send her anywhere, send her to the New York Aquarium, to Grant’s Tomb, but please, not to me.”

They understood, got the point, and I never heard from her again.

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Tipped To Be A Good Day

, , , , , | Right | October 4, 2020

I have been having an awful day at work dealing with my manager’s endless yelling at me and my coworker calling out leaving me to close by myself. I have made no tips the entire day, and just as I’m about to start cleaning up, a woman walks in.

Customer: “Hey, do you think you have enough time for one more sandwich?”

Me: “Sure, I can do that for you. What would you like?”

I proceed to make her order and ring her up. Her total is about $6. She hands me $40.

Customer: “Here you go; keep the change.”

Me: “But… This is like $34 in tip! I think you handed me the wrong amount.”

Customer: “I have been a bartender for ten years and know that you live off of tips. You take that money and do something nice for yourself. Have a great night!”

I thanked her as I began to cry, and she just smiled and walked out. Wherever she is, God bless her for being so amazing to me on such an awful day!

This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for October 2020!

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