Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | June 16, 2012

People Suck at 911

I find myself incredibly bothered by the number of people who don’t understand the intended use of 911.

It’s a simple service.

If there is an emergency, you pick up a phone and you dial 9-1-1, someone answers on the other end, you tell them the emergency (note: EMERGENCY is a very key word here), and they send the appropriate people (ie: cops, firemen, ninjas, paramedics, etc.) to deal with the emergency.

Despite the simplicity and idiot-proofness of the 911 emergency system, it seems like every week I’m reading a story about how some lady called 911 to get a date with a police officer, or how some kid called 911 to ask for help with his math homework, or how someone called 911 to pick a fight with a cop, or how someone called 911 in an attempt to get out of a speeding ticket.

Today, however, I’ve stumbled upon one that may take home the trophy for dumbest 911 call of all-time, courtesy of CBS New York:

A Connecticut man called 911 Wednesday from a deli telling the dispatcher they were making his sandwich wrong.

The caller, who identifies himself as Rother McLennon, called 911 from the Grateful Deli in East Hartford, lamenting to the dispatcher that his sandwich was being made wrong.

So let’s get this straight, this dude ordered a sub, but the folks preparing his sub went rogue and started going against his dietary desires.

Naturally, he did the only logical thing a dude could do in that situation, he called 911 to see about getting some police assistance.

Holy balls, is this real life?!

Here’s the 911 call for your listening pleasure (or something):

I’m not sure what the worst part of this entire debacle was.

Was it the fact that the operator stayed on the line with this guy?

Was it the fact that the operator actually ended up sending police assistance?

Was it the fact that someone had to tell this guy he had the option of not buying the janky sub?

Was it the fact that this guy orders his subs with a little bit of ham and a little bit of turkey and then lots of cheese and mayo?

It’s a toss-up in my mind. Everything about this makes me angry and disgusted.

It also makes me think that I’m definitely giving 911 a jingle the next time I get a midnight cheeseburger craving. Hopefully, I’ll get this same operator and she’ll send over a squad car to pick me up a bag of drive-thru burgers or something.

F’n ridiculous.



  1. Let me tell you why the operator stayed on the line and sent police on this assinine call: 911 operators are not permitted to hang up on callers. This creates liability (explained later); she sent police because if she hadn’t, it could have created liability. Consider: the guy gets so enraged because his sandwich is made wrong, he goes to his car, pulls out a ball bat, or a gun, goes back into the store and beats or shoots 3 people. That night the news tells the story and everyone clearly deduces from the call that (a) the caller is nuts (b) the caller is enraged so (c) 911 should have done something with this enraged nut. Its ALWAYS ASSUMED after the tragedy that the 911 operator knew the tragedy was going to happen or had the potential to happen. The entire country would have screamed for the head of the 911 operator, whose failure to act led directly to the senseless injuring (or killing) or 3 innocent people. Its a no-win situation: The operator stays on the line and sends police, she’s wrong and wasting taxpayer money; she hangs up or doesn’t send and a crime is committed, she’s wrong again. Every human situation viewed in hindsight has a “what if” attached, and in the case of 911 where the call is recorded and subjected to Monday morning quarterbacking, media editing and slant there is no “Right way” to handle a call of this nature, except to placate the caller and send police to mediate. The caller obviously has a sense of entitlement and to tell him “No” would be to offend him. 911 is not there to offend the public but to serve them.
    Until our society can stop finding blame where actually none exists, 911 will continue to stay on the line and send police and ems to complaints that have zero merit. Its the safest way to error on the side of caution. 911 operators are told this in no uncertain terms during training.


  2. I know a guy who called 911 because his siblings ate all the ice cream. Blue Bunny gave him some sort of award for that one. Granted, we are talking about an individual who is intellectually disabled…


    • I’m gonna give that dude a free pass, methinks.

      Plus he landed an ice cream award. Hard to top that.


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