Wish They’d Never Been Born

, , , , | Right | May 25, 2020

I work as a receptionist in a university archive. Detailed descriptions of all our collections are online, so users often call or email to ask about documents they want to use for research. Every once in a while, we get a really weird question.

Me: “[Archive], how can I help you?”

Caller: “Hi. I need a copy of my birth certificate.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I think you have the wrong number. This is the archive at [University].”

Caller: “I know. I was born at [Hospital], but it closed in the seventies and Google says that you have their records. How do I get a copy of my birth certificate?”

Me: “Ma’am, all the documents we have in that collection are about the founding and administration of the hospital, because of its historical value. We certainly don’t have patient records!”

Caller: “Well, why not? Where did they go?”

Me: “I don’t think that would be legal. Maybe the records were sent to patients’ primary care doctors? I really don’t know.”

She asks me two more times where the hospital’s patient records from over fifty years ago went, all the while complaining that they should be with us.

Caller: “Then where can I get a copy of my birth certificate?”

Me: “I’m not sure. I think town or county registrars usually keep those kinds of records, so maybe you should try them?”

Caller: “You’re just no help at all!”

She hung up on me.

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