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Dial 7 For Murder

, , , , , | Right | January 13, 2022

I work in a residential group home for individuals with physical disabilities. By some odd coincidence, our office phone number is only different from our local hospital by one number: a one instead of a seven. This would be only a little annoying, with the usual amount of mistaken calls, except that the hospital’s website uses a font that makes ones and sevens look almost identical. Since I know exactly what the problem is, and I know the number that people actually want, it’s normally a quick five-second exchange each time I get someone asking for lab work, a patient room number, or a doctor’s name.

Not this time.

I was working one day when the phone rang, and I answered it with my usual spiel.

Me: “Hello, [Agency], this is [My Name] at [Facility]. How may I help you?”

An older lady replies.

Caller: “Hello, I’m calling for [Doctor]. My husband had a test last Thursday and I need to know what the results are.”

It’s obvious what happened.

Me: “Ah! I’m sorry, but I think you’re trying to reach [Local Hospital]. Their number is just one off from us. You need to call [correct number].”

The woman on the other end seems to acknowledge me and hangs up. A few seconds pass and the phone rings again. I think to myself, “It couldn’t be…”

Me: “Hello, [Agency], this is [My Name] at [Facility]. How may I help you?”

Caller: “Yes, hello? I’m trying to reach [Doctor]’s office because I need to know the results of—”

I cut her off at this point, trying very hard not to learn any medical information I shouldn’t know.

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but this is still the wrong number; you need to call [correct number] for the hospital.”

Caller: “I’m not trying to call the hospital; I’m trying to call [Doctor] about the results of [test]!”

I’m surprised by her sudden aggression, but I assume she just didn’t understand. I now regret that.

Me: “Ma’am, this is a residence, not a hospital. We don’t have any doctors here and we don’t do testing of any kind. Please call [correct number].”

She hangs up then, and I hope for the best. A few minutes pass, and then, of course, the phone rings again. I see the caller ID and groan.

Me: “Hello, [Agency], this is [My Name] at [Facility]. How may I help you?”

Caller: *Practically screaming* “You need to train your people better and get me [Doctor] right now! This is inexcusable treatment! Your idiot staff has been trying to give the runaround and I’ve had it!”

I’m not paid to do customer service, and I have clients who need help, and I’m fed up.

Me: “Look, lady, I can’t make this any more clear. You need to call [correct number]. We. Are not. A hospital.”

She screams something unintelligible and hangs up. A full ten minutes pass until the phone rings again. I recognize the caller ID and consider letting it go to voicemail.

Me: “Hello, this is still [Agency], this is still [My Name].”

Caller: “What are you people doing there? I need my husband’s test results and the little Mexican boy keeps giving me this number and I know this is the right number!”

I take a second to try and process that, trying to think if she’s calling someone else in between calling me.

Me: “Ma’am, this is a residential facility with no doctors and no ability to run tests of any kind. Please, look up the correct phone number for whoever you are trying to reach, and stop calling here.”

Caller: “You’re murderers! All of you are murderers! I need help and you’re murdering my husband!”

Me: “Ma’am, I cannot help you. Call the hospital, and they will be able to do something.”

The woman just shouted “Murderer!” once more before slamming the phone down. Fortunately, she didn’t call again. I do hope her husband got whatever he needed in time, but I have my doubts.

Raise A Glass To Dolores And Her Devoted Friend

, , , , , | Friendly | December 14, 2021

My mom once told me that when she and my dad had just married and gotten their first telephone, she’d get calls from an elderly lady who wanted to speak to Dolores. She was very friendly, and even when my mom repeatedly told her there was no Dolores, she still insisted my mom was Dolores.

My mom got used to it after a while. At least once or twice a week this old lady would call to talk to Dolores. Every call started with, “Hello, Dolores! How are you?” And she ignored every attempt to explain to her that she had the wrong number. So, eventually, my mom didn’t even try anymore. She even grew quite fond of the lady and indulged her.

She never found out who that lady really was, as she only stated her first name, and she never told anything that’d helped to pinpoint where she called from. She talked about her daily routines, her cat, the garden, and other random stuff. Often she’d reminisce about past experiences she had shared with Dolores. She also sounded very old and a little shaky and could only talk for about ten or fifteen minutes tops before she got too tired to go on.

She also only called on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays, always at the same time — around eight pm. After a while, my mom had grown so fond of her that she insisted on being home at that time just so she wouldn’t miss a call.

The whole thing lasted for about a year, and then the calls eventually stopped. My mom thinks the old woman was lonely, and from the things she told my mom, it seemed that Dolores was a childhood friend of hers. We think she either went to a retirement home or died and that’s why the calls stopped.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Dolores had also died long before the old woman started to call. Maybe that woman had dementia and really believed my mom was Dolores, or maybe she knew that there was no Dolores but since my mom was so friendly she’d decided to call anyway just to have someone to talk to.

My mom felt really sad when no more calls came. She still thinks of that lady now and then and wonders who she was and what happened to her. As for me, I’m really happy that I have a mom who’s so compassionate and friendly, even to strangers. I try to be like her.

Voicemail Fail, Part 7

, , , | Right | December 13, 2021

I work as a concierge in a popular beach resort. My job is to call people two weeks before arrival to offer assistance with their stay. Most calls are normal enough, but I have a list of interactions I call the “Why would you even answer?” list.

Guest #1: “I’m at the movie theater. I’ll give you a call later.”

Guest #2: “Sorry, I can’t talk right now; I’m driving a motorcycle.”

Guest #3: “I’m actually at my wedding reception right now. Can I call you back?”

Guest #4: *After chatting for a few minutes* “Do you mind if we finish up another time? I’m at Disney World with my family and my kid keeps pestering me to get on another ride.”

But the most baffling one of all time is this one. We were on the call for twelve minutes at this point. He was just chatting about his life, not even utilizing the service, and then he hits me with:

Guest #5: “Well, I should probably get back to work now. I’m a doctor and I was supposed to be making my rounds. I should probably check on my patients. Thanks for the call!”

Seriously, people, just let it go to voicemail!

Voicemail Fail, Part 6
Voicemail Fail, Part 5
Voicemail Fail, Part 4
Voicemail Fail, Part 3
Voicemail Fail, Part 2

You Can’t Check In When Mentally Checked Out

, , , , , , | Romantic | December 9, 2021

My boyfriend and I are flying out to a wedding. Due to circumstances, we are on separate bookings though we are on the same flight. We have booked through a popular travel site for a flight on [Airline #1] that is a codeshare with [Airline #2].

This causes some trouble when it comes time to check in the day before. The code that the travel site has given is not working on [Airline #1]’s site, which says to check in on [Airline #2], which is also not accepting it. A call to [Airline #2] says they are quite busy and offers to do a virtual hold with a call back in three hours.

I decide to try calling [Airline #1] and get through within ten minutes. They immediately understand the code problem, give me an appropriate code for [Airline #2], and stay with me to make sure I can use it on [Airline #2]’s website, which I can.

I then text the boyfriend to remind him to check in.

Me: “Did you get [Airline #2]’s confirmation number? And when checking in on [Airline #2]’s website, you may want to put in [FirstName MiddleName] for the first name.”

Boyfriend: “I’m having issues checking in. I called [Airline #2]. They’ll call me back in three hours.”

Me: “It’s probably that the confirmation number you have is a [Travel Site] number, not [Airline #2]. Call [Airline #1]. They are faster and can give you the [Airline #2] number.”

Boyfriend: “I tried to check in with [Airline #1]. It says please verify your itinerary and check in with [Airline #2]. WTF?!”

I call him directly.

Me: “Is there a reason why you aren’t listening? Call [Airline #1].”

Boyfriend: “But [Airline #1] is telling me to check in with [Airline #2].”

Me: “Yes, I know. It’s a codeshare. Call [Airline #1].”

Boyfriend: “But [Airline #2] is going to call me back in three hours.”

Me: “I know. It was the same with me. Call [Airline #1].”

Boyfriend: “But—”

Me: “CALL [AIRLINE #1]. We bought tickets with one company for an airline that is codesharing with another airline. They should be talking to each other, but for whatever reason, they aren’t. CALL [AIRLINE #1]. You’ll get through in a few minutes, they’ll give you [Airline 2]’s confirmation code, and they’ll even stay on the line with you to make sure it’s working. You may want to use [FirstName MiddleName] for the first name when entering your information.”

He finally managed to get checked in.

Grief Is A Deep Pool

, , , , , | Related | December 2, 2021

My grandmother recently fell and things are looking grim. It will probably be a matter of days. Despite my dad being her son, she didn’t appoint him as “next of kin.” Instead, my grandmother appointed her daughter as the first point of contact. This is fine; she could only list one and she had a great relationship with her daughter.

My grandmother passes at 6:00 am. My dad is a volunteer at the swimming club and his first lessons start at 8:00 am, and his first break is around 10:00 am. My family knows this; he’s been doing this for twenty years now. 

At 10:00 am, he checks his phone and sees a missed call. He calls back and gets my cousin on the line. He is informed that his mother passed away. My cousin then gives this gem.

Cousin: “We couldn’t reach you! Why couldn’t we reach you? Why didn’t you pick up?”

Dad: “I was in the pool.”

Cousin: “You should have had your phone with you; you knew Grandmother was doing bad.”

Dad: “I know, but I was in waist-deep water.”

Cousin: “You should have taken your phone with you!”

Dad changed the subject. My cousin was probably grieving, but it’s a bit silly to expect a swimming instructor, who is supposed to keep an eye on little children, to have their phone with them in waist-deep water.