1. I did not call it myself, but I had it called for me.

    I was hit by a car in a crosswalk, and a group of seven or eight women (who later turned out to be lawyers) witnessed it. I didn’t get much of a word in edgewise while they were taking care of everything. At one point I heard “Doyouwantmetocall911? I’mcalling911.” I assume she called 911.

    1. Oh, and then there was the time a coworker had a seizure, smashed his face on my desk and convulsed on my feet, bleeding from the face. I didn’t call 911 myself, though. I just had a panic attack while someone else called 911.

  2. In my many years working in retail pharmacy, we inadvertently called 911 many times because you have to dial 9 to call outside the store. A girl accidentally auto-faxed them 5 or 6 times one day. They became quite annoyed with us, understandably so. It is a good idea to make sure no one is actually having an emergency in this situation. Luckily for me, I missed out on all our actual emergencies.

  3. I’ve been a nature photographer for 11 years and never had any problems until last year. I was shooting on a river named Styx. This young couple came down and started talking, asking me questions about what I was shooting. All of a sudden Wham the girl starts hitting me in the head with a pipe wrench, about 20 times. They took my wallet, phone and all my camera gear. I made it back to the car and drove to a little country store and called 911.

    1. Damn, that must have been terrifying. So many questions: Did they catch the couple? Are you okay? Did you ever get your equipment back? Also, WTF? How does this shit happen?

    2. Did they seem suspicious at all when they approached you? I mean, did you even see the pipe before she started using it?

      This story is just awful. How do you trust anyone again?

    3. With the mention of ‘Styx’ and the capitilized ‘Wham’ in your post, I kept expecting it to turn into some kind of joke about 1980’s bands…Was I the only one?

      1. Yes! The River Styx does exist. It’s just north of Orange Lake in Alachua County Florida. And here’s the whole story. Like I said previously I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve met people from all over the world while out shooting. I guess I’ve become trustful of people and don’t take the needed precautions. I was down on the side of the river when a white pickup truck drove by slowly on the bridge. They turned around and parked and walked down the embankment to where I was shooting. It was a young couple 19 or 20 years old and she was pregnant, so I really didn’t think much about it since this happens all the time. I was somewhat cautious of the young man and kept an eye on him but didn’t think the girl would be much harm in her condition. She walked behind me to get on the other side to see what I was shooting at least that’s what I thought. All of a sudden I felt a blow to the head and looked up and saw a pipe wrench in her hand, she struck me in the head about 20 times in about as many as that on my arm where I was trying to block the blows. They took my phone, my wallet and camera gear worth about $11,000. I don’t know how long I laid there but when I got up I noticed my car was still there and I had my keys so I drove to a little country store/post office.

        I suffered a concussion, cuts and bruises. I have trouble remembering names and numbers and have this constant ringing in my ears. The neurologist says that this could get better over time. I have to say the Alachua County Sheriff’s Department is the very best I’ve ever dealt with. They were kind helpful and respectful. They did their very best to catch the couple and recover my gear but they got away. I have been back to the River Styx on several occasions and still go out by myself several times a week. I enjoy nature and I’m not going to be deterred by one bad event. And before anyone says that I should carry a gun let me point this out, I was taken by surprise by a young pregnant girl, I would’ve never guessed what she was capable of. I am 6.4 and weigh a little over 300 pounds. If I had had my gun with me on that day they would’ve picked it up from my unconscious body and shot me I am sure. I am not against guns, I’m an avid collector. I usually carry a mono pod for protection against snakes, alligators and the occasional pack of wild dogs. Here’s my gallery if you’re interested

      2. Steve, that’s a hell of a story. A pipe wrench? I mean, you’re lucky you’re still alive. If she got you in the right place that could have been game over.

      3. Thanks for sharing that story. It’s unbelievable how crappy some people can be. Glad you have as little permanent damage as you do. As Chris said, it could have been much worse.

  4. Once, a few years ago. My wife and I witnessed a skateboarder crossing the street get hit by a car. It was one of those moments that you could see it coming, a car making a left turn and accelerating while the skateboarder tried to cross in a crosswalk against a do not walk sign. The kid (a teenager) turned out to be ok. But it was shocking to see somebody flip up into the air like that, luckily he almost landed on his feet rather than the other way around.

  5. Three times.

    The first time someone at work passed out and hit her head on the heavy stone windowsills.

    Second time I’d gotten myself very very sick and had too much pain to get myself to the ER.

    Third time was to break up a domestic abuse situation across the hall from my apartment.

  6. Once due to a car fire in the parking lot of the building next door. I was on the 4th floor and had a good view. It was a fair sized building, and lots of folks had good views, so by the time I called they had already had plenty of calls about the car fire…

    Another time due to a car accident outside my window (different building).

    Our community pool has a phone that will dial 911 automatically when the receiver is picked up. The 911 operator effectively called me after a little twerp who was told to not play with the phone ended up picking it up. 15 seconds later the phone rang – the 911 operator was checking to see if there was an emergency (kudos to them for their follow-up!).

  7. I called after a woman burst into my house screaming that her husband was trying to kill her. I looked out the window and the guy was coolly standing on the front lawn. Turns out that she was schizophrenic, off her meds, and completely dissociating. Made for a harrowing half-hour.

    I also called after I was awakened at 3 a.m. by an orange glow outside my window. Neighbor’s Trans Am had been set alight by someone he had fought with at a bar the previous evening.

    I don’t live in that neighborhood anymore.

  8. I live in New York City. One time walking on 12th St towards 3rd Ave at around 8-9pm, a 20something black guy with jeans, no shirt, and no shoes came running up the middle of the street from behind me semi-coherently yelling about people chasing him or trying to kill him. He made it to 3rd Ave and kind of fell down and began rolling around in the middle of the street. There’s a lot of traffic on 3rd Ave. Cars aren’t really stopping, just kind of going around him as he started to roll uptown towards 13th St. He seemed to be under the influence of something. I called 911 and told them what was going on. At this point people were starting to take notice. 911 asked me where I was and I said he was on 3rd Ave rolling uptown towards Duane Reade. Eventually he made it (by rolling) to 14th St and 3rd Ave which is a big intersection with a lot of traffic. Cars were stopping or swerving to avoid him but it would’ve been really easy for something bad to happen. Thankfully he rolled over to the sidewalk without incident, an ambulance showed up and helped him onto a stretcher and took him away. That’s the one time I called 911.

  9. My last apt was on a block that went downhill when AIG fell so the shootings and muggings elevated. I’ve called numerous times on July 4th after seeing some serious explosions outside my window. I only resorted to 911 since calling 311 (local city help line) would give me a busy signal.

  10. Never had to call for personal reasons, but I’m damn good at doing it for other people!

    I was a lifeguard for about 8 years, from high school throughout college, and it seemed like every 6 months someone would hit their head on the diving board or something. We got to know the paramedics in the area pretty well. (The best time we had to call was when one of my coworkers got a nosebleed that lasted over 15 minutes. You should have seen all the blood in the staff bathroom!)

    Most recently I worked the front desk at a resort, and we had to call when a guest’s oxygen tank and backup equipment stopped working. She was really ornery about it, but I hear oxygen deficiency can do that to you.

    1. I also occasionally fill in at the front desk of a resort (for nighttime security) Had to call 911 a few times there. Most recently due to some drunk who fell. Our villas are essentially duplexes, and the larger units are 2 floors. A rather large family had rented a pair of units, and buddy decides he wants to go from one to the other. Rather than walk out the front door and around to the other, he decides to climb over the balcony railing, shimmy past the glass partition between units, and climb back onto the other balcony. He never made it to the shimmy part…

      Last I heard he just had a concussion. When you’re that drunk, you don’t tense up, and he landed on grass fortunately.

      Another time I was called in by another guy who was a bit worried for his safety. (and he grew up north of Detroit) I think it was a stag, with about 20 guys, and a couple who were quite unruly. After trying to quiet them down, a couple guys started making threats and eventually tried taking swings at us. We called the cops and locked up in the office. 8 cops showed up. Told the cops that they couldn’t stay. Taxis were called for everybody. I heard the closest hotel they could find was 55 km away (35 miles) That’s an expensive trip for 20 guys, plus we kept the $600 rental and $250 damage deposit. Felt bad for the couple sane guys trying to corral the others.

      1. Then there’s also the usual stuff like car accidents. Watched a guy having a seizure crash head-on into a minivan right in front of me. I understand the whole “slow motion” explanation after that.

        Or back in Christmas 2008 when Vancouver got 2 feet of snow. We’re driving back home on boxing day, everybody’s doing half the speed limit on the highway, and buddy in his Porsche Cayenne starts passing. Well, until he spun around and flipped it on the roof right in front of me.

        I’ve only had to call 911 once for a family emergency. We were camping last summer and my dad appeared to be having a heart attack. There also happened to be an off-duty firefighter camping nearby. Paramedics were there surprisingly fast, and that hospital was the nicest I’ve ever been in. Turns out my dad had an “esophageal spasm” which perfectly mimics a heart attack.

        Of course the most recent time I’ve had to call 911 was for a real heart attack on the golf course. Freaked me out a bit because it was just like last summer with my dad. Although, this guy actually stopped breathing for a couple minutes… Haven’t heard the outcome yet, though I’d probably have heard if he didn’t make it.

  11. I’ve called it several times, after witnessing a few car accidents and getting sideswiped on the highway.

    Just last week I was coming back from dinner and as we were walking from the subway to our apartment, we saw a guy laying face-down on the sidewalk. My neighborhood has a fairly substantial homeless population due to a lot of services in the area. So I’m used to seeing folks sleeping in doorways and other spots, but this guy was laying out in the middle of the sidewalk right in front of the post office. This was not a planned sleep. Since he wasn’t responsive, we ended up calling 9-1-1

    He eventually came to and said that he had fallen, but he was clearly not ok to walk. We had to keep talking to him in order to keep him from standing up and most likely falling again.

    When the ambulance did show up, they didn’t ask what was going on or anything. The first words out of the driver’s mouth was “Hey Kevin (to the guy), how you feelin tonight?” He was clearly a regular.

      1. I won’t lie… we had a few chuckles at his expense due to that.

        Also: Chris, if you worked one stop further in on the Red Line you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to ask this question (this was in Central Square)

  12. I witnessed a road rage fight…basically motorcyclist going apeshit on a car, and blocking traffic.

    I called a minute into it, it seemed, but wasn’t the first since they already knew about it amazingly.

  13. Man, I feel like I’ve had a crazy life all of a sudden. I’ve personally called 9-1-1 many times. People breaking into my house (while we were home) when I was about nine was the first time I recall. I remember my mom using her body to keep the door closed and screaming at me to call 9-1-1. Then there was the drunk driver who hit a tree next door at 60 MPH.

    I owned my own retail business for a long time, so there were plenty of calls for accidents & injuries I saw on the street. And we got robbed once! Yay. The most memorable time I called was when I saw a father beating up his kid, who was about ten – I’ve never been more happy to see the cops.

    The worst experience calling 9-1-1 was trying to stop a drunk, suicidal friend from killing himself. He had lost it and the cops nearly killed him. They hauled him to the hospital and he ended up strapped to a bed while he detoxed. Bad times, but at least he’s still alive.

  14. I used to be a mall security supervisor, so I’ve probably called 911 hundreds of times, reporting crimes, fires, injuries, one time a woman going into labor, that one was exciting.

  15. I’ve called the cops several times for things like a car accident, creepy people coming door to door asking for money and such, although I try to use the non-emergency number unless it’s urgent.

    The best time I called 911 was when I was visiting Madison, Wisconsin. We were driving by the university campus at night when an enormous and spotlessly clean cow came galloping into the road. I remember the 911 operator saying, “A cow??” and me blurting out, “Yeah, a Holstein!” as though they might arrest some other cow without a proper description.

  16. Fairly major traffic accidents seem to happen a half mile in front of us on a regular basis. So much so, that we have a routine: my husband stops the RV such that it blocks traffic, then gets out to see if he can help the victims. I call 911 to report it, then get on the CB to warn the truck drivers.

    The first time it happened, we were on our motorcycles and saw two cars collide. The woman in one car died as my husband was talking to her 🙁 There was no way he could get into the car to help her, or get her out of the car.

    Fortunately, all the rest of the accidents have been minor or no injuries, but it sure is exciting (and not in a good way) to watch a tractor trailer flip over in front of you. We think the driver fell asleep on that one…

  17. I was awakened at 12:30 a.m. from hearing my female neighbor (who lives alone) frantically screaming, “No! No! Stop! Get off! Stop!!” then a crash, then silence. I called 911, and when the cop arrived I went next door. Turns out her cats were fighting and I had heard her yelling at them to stop. The cop just rolled his eyes and walked away, which kind of pissed me off, because it was still possible that an attacker really was in the house and somehow forced her to make up a story to get rid of the cops (you know, like in the movies).

    Other “false alarms” I’ve unknowingly called in: A fire that they already knew about, a car crash that had already been reported, and two groups of about 5 people each, ready to get into a street fight, but by the time the cops got there it was down to an argument. About the only real emergency where my call made a difference was a very slow drunk driver running into bushes and pulling into wrong driveways looking for his house. But even that wasn’t what I thought it was: turns out he wasn’t drunk, he was having some kind of medical reaction. Really, by now I’m surprised they take my calls seriously at all.

      1. Pretty nonchalant. It went something like:
        Her: Oh, sorry. My cats were fighting.
        Me: I heard you screaming so I called 911.
        Her. Ooh. I was kind of afraid that would happen (then, to the cop) thanks for coming out, though.
        For the record, she was always a bit on the loony side. She was often bickering with the neighbor on the other side of her, who was old and senile. I found out later that the cops had already been out a few times in the past. Probably why the cop this time didn’t seem surprised.

    1. This reminds me that I once called 911 when I saw a fat guy crawling through our elderly neighbor’s bedroom window. Turns out it was her grand-daughter’s boyfriend. The young couple was watching Grandma’s house while she traveled, but we didn’t know that. Granny came over to thank us for being vigilant when she came home.

      We lived in a quiet, low crime city, so after I called, the entire police force turned out for this event. It was also a fairly wealthy city, complete with helicopter units, so it was a big to-do in our neighborhood!

      Note to self: if you have to break into someone else’s house, might be a good idea to talk to the neighbors first.

  18. Haven’t actually called 911 myself, but once directed someone else to call 911. I came upon a house that was very, very much ablaze late at night while visiting my grandmother. I hopped out of the car, ran to the neighbors house, told them to call 911, then ran to the house that was on fire and tried beating on the doors. No one was home, thank goodness, but I had to stick around to give a statement to the police and eventually met the homeowner who told me that her cat had been inside 🙁

  19. My oldest son called 9-1-1 once as a joke. He thought he could call and then immediately hang up. The cops came and my son hid out in the bathroom and made his little sister talk to the cops.

    Couple hours later, a friend of my son’s was going to make a call and accidentally hit redial and 9-1-1 was again called. This time the cops were less understanding.

    Needless to say, our oldest son was in quite a bit of trouble and was not left alone for some time.

    Otherwise, I called 9-1-1 one night because I thought there was someone dead laying in the street across from my house. He wasn’t. He was just drunk and really tired.

  20. I have called multiple times while driving on the highway. One time was for a random fire that had developed in the median’s grass on I-81. Another was for a bbq grill randomly sitting in the middle of I-78, between lanes. We witnessed a car behind us swerve to miss it, and spin out. When we called to report the grill on the highway, the operator said multiple people had already reported it and my response was, “well now an accident has just occurred because of it.”

  21. Serious 911 calls: Someone crashed into my parked car. Someone started yanking on my back door.

    Embarrassing 911 calls: witnessed an explosion that turned out to be thunder and lightning (we don’t get many lightning storms and those calls are fairly common), found a bag of white powder in a brown paper sack left at a pay phone (turned out to be a napkin inside a plastic bag, to the irritation of the officer) and a few accidental calls. NOTE: If you accidentally dial 911, TALK TO THE OPERATOR. Just explain the situation and they’ll understand. If you just hang up without talking to the operator (even if you don’t hear it ringing on the other end) they’ll assume it’s an emergency with an incomplete call and send an officer over for a welfare check.

  22. Many times. More notable experiences: When my dad smashed a glass terrarium with his wrist in a rage and was bleeding out (after having my adult oldest brother pull a revolver on him – my family put the ‘fun’ in disfunctional); when a strange car barreled into my driveway at 3am and people were sneaking to another house (I had already pulled my .380 out, sketchy neighborhood we don’t live in anymore); neighbors started pounding on each other in the breezeway, woman was the aggressor and she threw a heavy steel chair off the balcony 3 stories into her ex’s car windshield;
    In my firefighting days I called a few times to report fires/accidents, got crap from my station mates when it was a brush fire behind our station that was a major pain in the ass to get to – if they weren’t so out of shape it’d been easier for them.

  23. I called a couple years ago.. my brother was attempting suicide and had told his ex that he’d downed a bunch of pills.. I went over, kicked open the door, he was nonresponsive.. called 911.. terrifying shit.

  24. Called twice in college. Once when the car was being broken into and once when a strange man was sitting on my porch, looking in the windows.

    I called when my college aged daughter called in a panic about being threatened and stalked. By a PROFESSOR. He sent her an angry, sexual email one morning and and she was terrified even to call the cops so I did.

    Longest 911 call was when a neighbor’s teen son with severe mental illness raged. I stayed on the line until the police came and it seemed like forever. He was violent. He shoved insurance cards down the disposal, his mother was trying to fish them out and he turned on the unit with her hand still inside. He destroyed the house, broke windows and ran down the road while I followed him, still on my cell. He found a wasp nest a few doors down and began grabbing insects despite the stings. I stood back and gave a running commentary to the dispatcher.

  25. Once when my mom collapsed and died.

    Once when a crazy co-worker who was convinced my brother had plotted to have her fired (“No, it had nothing to do with your erratic behavior and your barking at people in the cafeteria.”) showed up on my front porch (I have no idea how she found out where I lived) and began threatening me.

  26. My husband has a seizure disorder and I call 911 every time. It pisses him off because “It’s not like I’m going to die”. But I call anyways just in case. He looses his drivers license for 3 months each time so I understand why he would be pisses, but I don’t want his death on my hands.

  27. Only once, when I came home after a business trip to find my wife shot herself in the head.

    Fortunately it was a .22 and she went back to work a month later as an IT professional.

  28. Psychedelic mushrooms + friend’s asthma attack = 911. I melted into the door waiting for the ambulance to arrive. He was OK.

  29. I have called several times. Mainly for car accidents. Oof the non-car accidents, I called once in LA when I saw a man get chased down and run over right in front of me. Once in Chicago when I was in my apartment with the windows open and I heard a woman calling for help somewhere on the street below. And once in Portland when a man tripping balls started throwing his bike at cars.

  30. Called once on Christmas Eve. All of a sudden there was this odor of an electrical fire in the kitchen, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Called 911 and told the operator I had no choice but to throw the house main breakers. Of course, idiot me on the portable phone, I cut myself off. Had to call 911 back from a corded phone to let them know I hadn’t offed myself. Fire engine came a couple of minutes later, and guys with a heat detecting device scanned all the walls in the kitchen. FINALLY it turned out that one of the compact fluorescent bulbs in the kitchen center light had failed, and failed by frying its firing circuitry. We’ve had CFs fail on us before, but never in such a manner. The center light had three bulbs in it, so neither the spouse nor I realized that we were short a bulb. Anyway, because the firefighters had smelled the “electrical fire smell” themselves, we didn’t get nailed for a false call. And of course the spouse insisted on giving them some goodies, it being Christmas Eve and all.

  31. My 2-year-old daughter went into a febrile seizure and started to turn blue, my wife called 911 and I started CPR. To this day I think the 911 concept and the people who respond are one of the best things a modern civilization has to offer…All turned out well but shit never forget that night. A couple of years later I was at the vet and saw a sign that the local fire department was taken donations to get respirators for cats/dogs to resuscitate for smoke inhalation. Isnt that kick ass….

  32. I called once when I witnessed a drunk driver drive off the road into a small tree, and once when the woman who was serving me at Cold Stone witnessed a pedestrian get hit by a car while crossing the street.

    I called local police once when I saw two dogs locked in a card with no windows down in close to 90 degree heat.

    1. Oh one other time was an accident. When I was 7 or 8 I was staying with my grandparents and they said we should call my parents. They lived in the 914 area code at the time (which I think has since been moved or abolished) and we both picked up different phones and started dialing. Somehow we dialed 911. My first instinct was to hang up but my parents were EMTs and I knew to explain myself to the operator before hanging up. The operator was grateful.

  33. I’ve called 911 once in my personal life for an attempted break in to my house.

    Other than that, I call police dispatch multiple times per day for work.

  34. I’ve fallen and hit my head two separate incidents, other people called 911 for me.

    I’ve called when the fire alarms had been going off for five minutes in the building but no trucks arrived, thankfully a false alarm.

  35. I’ve called several times for various car fires and grass fires that I’ve seen on the side of roads but the most memorable time was when my wife, myself, and my then 2 month old son were living in an apartment that sat inside the complex and on the street. Around 2am an apartment a few doors from me had some friends over for the evening I suppose when things turned sour. At first there was a lot of crying and yelling then screaming. Apparently some guy had a guy threatening to shoot himself if he couldn’t see his girlfriend. I called 911 explained to them to address the apartment manager and not me and what do they do? Pull me right in to the middle of the mess once they arrived on scene. Thankfully the landlady kicked out the girl who rented the apartment the next day.

  36. I’ve called it a couple of times actually, all of them to report accidents or crazy stuff I saw on the highway. I live in Montreal so the winters here are god-awful, usually the highways get really slick with ice and the city isn’t always great at getting rid of it before people head out for work. I once saw a car driving down the highway start spinning out of control and into a ditch. It then started doing sideways somersaults as it rolled down the ditch and then up onto the snowbank. I called 9-1-1 and they took my info, then called me back to say the person was alright but shaken up. Seatbelts people!

    Another time I called because we saw an SUV parked on the shoulder of the highway completely abandoned in the summertime…riddled with bullet holes. It was something I never expected to see since Montreal is a really safe city. We called 9-1-1 and they investigated. We found out later it was related to gang violence.

    And lastly, I called 9-1-1 a few months ago while driving home with some friends after we saw two cars collide into a pretty horrific car accident. One car changed two lanes at once and slammed sideways into another car causing that one to spin out of control and crash into the median. The first car was a drunk driver who sped off. I don’t know if he was ever caught, but we called the police and they came to check out the victim who was alright but badly shaken up.

    And those were my experiences with 9-1-1 folks!

  37. I’ve called several times. Smoke entering my girlfriend’s apartment from the unit below, gunshots fired within close proximity to my house, and strangers coming to the door late at night to ask for money or to try to sell strange items (once a guy came to my door at 10:30PM trying to sell me an old blanket). In the neighborhood we lived in at the time the cops would roll up maybe 30 minutes after the call (this is in the city). Now that we’re in a better neighborhood I bet they’d swarm the place and send a chopper if something like that happened.

    1. I forgot to mention the time when my wife and I were driving to my parents house about an hour away. A portion of the trip is on an isolated, curvy road that cyclists love to ride on the weekends. We came upon one laying on the road who had obviously taken a bad spill and injured his shoulder. We stopped, loaded him and his bike into our car, and took him to the next town where my parents live. I called 911 on the way so that the EMTs would be ready to take him once we arrived. His parents came a few hours later to get his bike, and they were very grateful that we helped him. It felt good to be able to help the guy out.

  38. I have called 911 on several occasions to report:
    — A forest fire — I had to convince the dispatcher it was not a campfire. It later turned out to be a 40-acre forest fire.
    — A “civil disturbance,” husband in wife fighting in the front yard.
    — Large sinkhole in the middle of the street on a dark rainy night.
    — Reckless teenager speeding up and down the street.
    — Car wrecks (not mine!)
    –A woman having a seizure at an Atlanta Braves game.
    –Large tree that had fallen during a storm and was blocking the road.

    I think that’s all. For now.

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