You know how when your phone rings and you’re so excited to answer it because maybe you don’t get phone calls all that often, and so you pick up, eagerly but outwardly cool, ’cause you’re like that, and then you hear some muffled sounds and maybe something reminiscent of a gunshot or chairs being scooted around by a person who’s tied to them, and you’re like, Oh shit. I’ve been butt-dialed.
You listen for a while to see if anything good happens, but eventually you hang up and go about your day. And eventually that same person calls you again and you tell them their butt called you earlier. And everyone has a big laugh. Of course you know! This happens to all humans with cellular phones. Except, sometimes things don’t go so smoothly.
This happened: A man is just chilling on his drive home, listening to some hip-hop because it relaxes him after a long day in the Winnetka, Illinois, school where he works, and who are you to judge who does or does not listen to hip hop, anyway? That’s when his butt accidentally calls his wife.
His wife, however, does not listen and hang up and go about her business. His wife hears the garbled “gangster-like” lyrics of whatever he is listening to, and assumes he’s been taken hostage, and calls 911.
Via the Chicago Tribune,
“You know how when you sit on your phone when it’s in your back pocket and it calls the last number that was dialed? His wife was the last number he’d dialed,” said Winnetka police Chief Joseph De Lopez. “The conversation led her to believe there was someone holding him hostage.”
The good news is, 911 takes this seriously! And, so, more than 30 gun-toting SWAT team members, bulletproof vest- and automatic weapon-clad, converged on the school where the poor guy works, searching for a gunman holding a hostage while news helicopters hovered overhead. This went on for about three hours, until the man was found safe at home. Everybody’s faces were red.
STILL! This is not the worse recent use of 911. In other recent news, also Chicago-based, a woman called 911 claiming her boyfriend was attacking her. When the cops got there, she confessed she’d just been “trying to scare” him into proposing. It did not work.
It’s important to learn from such lessons, lest we repeat them ourselves.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 5, 2011