“911 Operators, What Was The Dumbest Non-Emergency You Picked Up?” (62 Stories)

“911, what’s your emergency?” Police dispatchers face a lot of stress in their professional lives. Not only do they have to quickly help people who are in need of help or are panicking, but they also need to make hard decisions under pressure. While also learning not to bring their jobs back home with them because, unfortunately, they can’t have closure on all the calls that they take.

However, for some people, calling 911 operators is a joke or a game or they simply don’t know better. Reddit users who work as police dispatchers shared some of the most ridiculous, the dumbest non-emergency calls they’ve gotten over the years. And they’re as frustrating as they are funny.

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Scroll down for the best of the worst stories. And make sure to read Bored Panda’s interview with a psychotherapist about the type of stress emergency services operators face while on the job, how not to bring that stress home from work, and why people call them when they don’t have emergencies. According to her, when people understand that their jobs are meaningful, they’re much more resilient to the stress they face.

And remember… call the police when there’s an actual emergency, not because you have nothing better to do. Oh, and a quick reminder that you call 911 to reach the emergency services in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The number is 999 or 112 in the United Kingdom, 112 in many other parts of Europe, and can vary from country to country around the world.


My grandma used to call 911 to have the fire department bring her milk (she lived next to the fire department). She did this multiple times. Eventually, the fire chief gave her his direct line and he brought her milk until she came to live with us. She passed away in 2004.

My grandma was in early stages of dementia when this was happening, and it was a small town fire dept with a chief who had known her 30 years.

Image credits: Byzantium42

Bored Panda reached out to a psychotherapist based in Lithuania for a chat about police operators and dealing with the stress of the job. She preferred to remain anonymous because of how sensitive her work is.

“People working in emergency services are usually trained on how to react. The entire process usually has a very clear algorithm of actions, the call is standardized and streamlined as much as possible,” she said. “When you clearly know how to act, there’s a bit less stress.”


This guy calls early in the morning to report a forest fire. He goes on saying it’s getting closer and then goes silent. He then said never mind. The forest fire was the sun coming up. He admitted that he normally isn’t up at this early in the morning.

Image credits: TheGeofoam


Reporting the moon missing.
Imagine having so much faith in your local police department that you think they can recover the moon.

Image credits: lazarus870

“Usually, stress arises from confusion, a lack of clarity, as well as either too few or too many choices,” the expert told us.

“If an operator is facing a very difficult situation, they can reduce their stress levels with the help of their colleagues,” she said that the dispatcher can ask their coworkers or supervisor for help or redirect the call to specialized services like firefighters or emergency medical services.

According to the psychotherapist, having clear boundaries and responsibilities both help 911 operators from bringing their jobs and the stress back home with them.


Bloke rang in a panic and said he was being burgled. Had walked to the bathroom in the middle of the night and seen a guy on the landing. Sprinted back to his bedroom and rang the police. 3 cop cars and a dog unit speed over to his house and do a sweep of the house. Couldn’t find anything. When one cop asked him where he’d seen this guy he showed him the hallway which had a very large full sized mirror at the end. Turns out the guy had seen his own reflection in the dark.

Image credits: MacusTenus


Dude called 911 because he got off a train at the wrong stop and was broke. Honestly it wasn’t even his predicament so much as he was absolutely obnoxious about it, even called 911 severel more times after I had already told him officers were en route. Annoying that he’s tying up a line for medical emergencies, but that being said i’m going to preach a little: If you honestly think you may have an emergency but aren’t sure if it “qualifies” for 911 use, don’t worry about it and just do it. All emergency services personnel would much rather have much ado about nothing than have something terrible happen when it could have been prevented. This goes for all types of emergencies/situations.

Image credits: DudelyMcDuderson

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CALLER: There is a shark in the ocean.

ME: Yes, ma’am, that is where we keep them.

Image credits: que_he_hecho ·

“You have to clarify which actions were taken to give help to others and what is beyond the competence of the operator. It’s also important to vent the emotions that you feel at work,” she urged dispatchers to speak about the difficulties of the job with their other colleagues. If that’s not possible to do, it’s vital that they seek help outside the workplace and speak to a psychologist.

“Two of the most important factors that help maintain psychological resilience are: the support given by loved ones and colleagues, and the existence of a safe social space to speak about hardships,” she told Bored Panda.

“It’s only natural that when you react to dramatic and tragic events, you face emotions like anxiety, anger, a sense of hopelessness, and others. The job of a dispatcher brings with it various psychological challenges, so it’s important to ensure that the people who take up this calling don’t just use up their personal resources but also manage to recharge them.”


Someone called to tell us we don’t need to use lights and sirens at night on our emergency vehicles because it woke up their baby.

Image credits: Userscreename


One caller was concerned for his safety when going outside his house because the neighbor a couple of houses down had his table saw out in his garage and he was afraid the wind would blow the blade over to his house and injure him.

Image credits: karsizzle


My wonderful nephew who has physical and intellectual disabilities called 911 because the cat stole his piece of chicken. Because he can’t really speak they must have heard basically grunts and groans as he tried to tell his story.

They got to his house and found out everything was okay and he enjoyed the attention from the officers who responded. Unfortunately they had to teach him to NOT call 911 after that because he called three or four times after the first time because he wanted to see his new ‘friends’.

Some ways to recharge include developing high-quality social relationships, hobbies that bring enjoyment (e.g. drawing, music, various sports), and having the support of the workplace which can organize supervisory groups, seminars, and provide access to wellbeing consultants.

We also asked the psychotherapist to comment on the fact that some people call police dispatchers without any emergencies in mind. “I’d call that a plea for help, just directed to the wrong address,” she said.

“Odds are that the caller is having a rough time. A large number of them are probably kids or teenagers who aren’t being taken care of by their parents. Or people who have problems with staying sober,” the expert said that these people have a need for attention and to be taken care of.


CALLER: I want to report a robbery.

ME: Tell me what happened.

CALLER: I am at Burger King and I ordered 6 chicken nuggets but they only gave me 5.

Image credits: que_he_hecho


Two women called screaming so violently I was convinced they were being mauled or murdered. Their neighbors ferret slipped under the door to their apartment.

Image credits: Mlynnc99


When my daughter was 5 she spent a week with my dad. He gave her an old iPhone to play with. He said he got a kick out of it bc she has been “fake talking” to someone all week. Well towards the end of the week she handed the phone to him and he played along and said hello. It was a 911 operator! She had been calling all week to chat with them. They weren’t mad but wanted to let my dad know that out of service iphones can still call 911.

Image credits: kikki1122

According to her, sometimes even when people directly express these needs, they still don’t necessarily have them taken care of. “However, when they get in touch with emergency services, they feel like they’re being listened to. Sometimes, even an entire team of people reacts to a single person’s problems. It might be that these callers do need (a different kind of) help, but they’re lost or don’t know better and try to look for solutions by calling emergency services.”


Had a guy call, in a serious panic, saying someone was trying to break into his house. He sounded super panicked, anxious. I heard loud knocking through the phone. The caller also threw in “I pay your f**king taxes now SEND THE F**KING COPS, I DON’T WANT TO DIE”, etc… I could hear that constant loud door banging and a muffled voice. The guy then throws in “I just had pizza delivered here, and now I have someone trying to break into my house!!”… and then I could hear through the phone, the delivery guy say “sir, you forgot your change!”, over and over. That was back in 2009 and still bothers me at the utter stupidity.

Image credits: BlackIsTheSoul


Ambulance dispatch. Called for us to hand them the remote from across the living room. Yeah.

Image credits: Suitable_Hamster_569


Dispatched for a 200 sq mile district with under 70k people, so even the main city wasn’t very densely populated. Got a call one night on 911 from a guy who wanted animal control dispatched. Convo went like this:

Caller: There’s a racoon!

Me: Where is the racoon? (Thinking we might be able to send someone if it’s trapped inside or something)

Caller: In my front yard! He’s in the tree!

Me: I think that’s where racoon live, sir.

Caller: But I live in the city! Racoons can’t live in the city!

Me:…….. I dont think the racoon can read the city limits sign.


Caller: The doors to the Circle K are locked and I don’t see anyone inside. They are supposed to be open 24/7.

Me: Sometimes they do that when they need to use the restroom. Just give it a couple of minutes.

Caller: I’ve been standing out here for 10 minutes!

Me: Sometimes it’s more than pee.


Frantic Caller: “I want to report a suspicious male!”

Me: “Ok, where is he?” (gets location) “What makes him suspicious?”

Caller: “Well he’s walking down the street carrying a dangerous weapon!”

Me: “What kind of weapon does he have and what is he doing with it?”


Me: “….Ma’am, a snake is not a weapon nor is it illegal.”

Image credits: InconceivableWords


Asking what the number to 911 is.

Image credits: 30fireman


Calls 911 from a pay phone.

“911, what’s your emergency?”

“I don’t have an emergency. I didn’t have quarter and I want to talk to a cop.”

“Do you have $699.75?”

“Huh? What are you talking about?”

“Sir, 911 is for emergencies. You can be fined for misusing 911.”

“Are you gonna get me a f**king cop or not?”


Yeh. He got the fine for it.

Image credits: CrazyIslander


Guy called 911 before because he ordered a Filet-O-Fish from the drive-thru at McDonald’s and it had ketchup on it.

He was adamant about wanting the police to show up…His “argument” was that he worked at McDonald’s when he was 16 and you don’t put ketchup on Filet-O-Fish.

He got the police alright…and a DUI charge.

Image credits: CrazyIslander


Didn’t like the way the neighbors threw out their garbage.

Image credits: Userscreename


Tons of calls about people being the “wrong” race in their neighborhood.

Image credits: Userscreename


Had a guy demand for me to personally come pick him up and take him to get his tools. He said I had to since he pays taxes which means he pays my salary. I let him know if that was the case, I pay my own salary and to call an uber.


CALLER: There is this light in the sky, out over the harbor.

ME: (looking out the window from which I can see the area). Sir, that is the moon.

Image credits: que_he_hecho


Parents who call on children for not listening or throwing tantrums. I mean kids 6 and under. Had a guy call 3 times in a night for his son and he got mad at me for telling him to use the non emergency number and not 911.


A lady called 911 to report a police officer blocking the road. She wanted him to stop blocking the road and he wouldn’t move.

The problem? A boat in the road, taking up the entire road, she wouldn’t have been able to get by. Nevermind the huge crane there to lift the boat, also blocking the entire road with its outriggers, and the trailer the boat was going on, also sitting dead nuts middle of the road to be loaded.

But she called 911. To tell them to make the cop move. She had a hair appointment. And she was going to miss it if he didn’t let her by. But she’s going to sit there and call 911.


Received a call because a house full of women had a cockroach in it.

Image credits: TheZombiePlague


Someone called 9-1-1 to report “a stranger called me a b**ch at the train station”. My colleague had to inform the caller that namecalling isn’t a crime.

Image credits: BlackIsTheSoul


Got a call for a rat running around a shelf in the callers room.

Keep in mind – I take my job seriously. Everyone’s call is an emergency to them, I’ll respect that. This is the only call I’ve almost broke on and laughed. She had a thick accent and was on the verge of tears – and I was struggling to understand her. Eventually, after much confusion, she spells out M O U S E and mimics a mouse laugh (something like MA HEHEHEHEHEHEH) and I about lost it, I had to mute my phone and stand up. The mouse impression was like nothing I’ve ever heard, just so visceral and out of left field.

She was so afraid of this mouse though, we did send over an officer to clear the house for her. I stayed on the phone with her until responders arrived and comforted her, ensuring this wasn’t a dumb call to make, and that our officers would be happy to help.


Advice on what kind of lotion to put on a sunburn.

Image credits: lazarus870


Had a guy call at like 3am, whispering. He and his wife had stayed up drinking, she had passed out on top of him, and he couldn’t get up. And could barely breathe. She was 400lbs+ and he was 150.

They had just moved from out of state, and he didn’t remember his address. And couldn’t reach any pieces of mail. And was calling from a cell phone (in the days before smart phones).

That was a fun one to figure out.


911 call for Foreign Body in the abdomen… belly button lint, it was blue belly button lint.

Image credits: Stoopiddogface


A fairly distraught caller complaining that someone was feeding the geese too much bread at the park.


Caller: I’d like to report a suspicious person.
Operator: Ok, what does he look like?
Caller: he’s wearing X and he’s black
Operator: Ok, what is he doing that’s suspicious?
Caller: nothing but he just looks really suspicious.

Turns out he’s just a man walking.


Picked up trousers from dry cleaners and they weren’t clean and the caller had a job interview the following day.


Karens not getting their way. One lady wanted to speak to officers because the people she was harassing were “sassy” with her… Officer told her that being sassy is not against the law lol Another guy called in about employees calling his girlfriend fat and telling them to leave the store. His full grown girlfriend was trying to ride in the small store cart and employees said she was too big for it and to get out of it or leave the store. A male Karen called approx 20 times in a few hour span screaming about a home coming dance music and that he pays taxes and they shouldn’t be allowed to have dances and other nonsense.


What time does the parade or fireworks start?

Image credits: Turbulent_LegS9633


Ran out of beer at house party and to save anyone drunk driving, could we deliver some.


I have been called out for a grown man who nicked himself shaving. It had stopped by the time we arrived. I taught him the “toilet paper square” trick and about styptic pencils. He still wanted the 40$ taxi ride to emerg.

Image credits: tawnyfawny


911 education day at elementary schools were the worst because around 3:30 the phones would light up with kids testing to see if it really worked.

But my favorite 911 of all time:

Frightened Teenaged Boy: Um, yes, I was, uh, having sex with my girlfriend and the, uh, condom came off and she, uh, she still has it. Um, inside.


“I have a court date coming up, but I have to go camping that day…what should I do?”

Image credits: lazarus870


Caller: I had a lady friend over, I went to get us drinks, there was $400 on my dresser, now she’s gone and so is the money.

Me: (trying to get a description) what was her name, do you know where she lives, etc since he opened with saying he knew her

Caller: ughhhhh um I’m not really sure. I can’t remember

Me: You don’t know your “friends” name? (Awkward pause) do you want to find out and call back?

Image credits: Mlynnc99


“Are homeless people allowed in the park?”

Image credits: Userscreename


“My two year old has a piece of toilet paper in the nose.”

Image credits: Mlynnc99


Toddlers whose parents give them phones to play with which aren’t connected to any service. Yeah they still work for 911, and we can’t call you back on them either. Luckily the mapping system usually works pretty well to the extent that not only can I tell the address, but can often tell the officers which area of the house the calls are coming from.


Me: 9-1-1, police, fire, ambulance.

“Police! Send the f**king cops to **address** now, there’s a serious emergency”. Silence. Then suddenly I hear tons of laughter, from grown adults. “Hahahaha, don’t actually send the cops, this is just a joke”. I also heard in the background “I can’t believe he really did it!”. The cops were already dispatched and by the time they got to the house they were not amused.


My eight year old wont get in the bath. Can you send an officer out to tell her she needs to?


When I was around 6, I was spending the day with my grandmother while my father was at work. She was preparing dinner for all of us and needed my father to pick something up on his way home.

This was the age before cell phones were ubiquitous and she didn’t know his work number off the top of her head, but that’s alright, I knew his work number.

Now I was only 6, but I was pretty sharp for my age, so she just assumed that maybe I knew his work number.

So she pulls me up on the tall chair by the phone and has me dial, and I do:


My father worked at Fire Dispatch, so I was technically correct.

Anyway a lady answered and I asked if “my dad was there.” Not his name, just “my dad.” We get into a bit of a back and forth about how I called 9-1-1 and yeah, I know, my dad works at 9-1-1.

Eventually we do get my dad on the line, I think after the dispatcher asked my name. He asks to put my grandmother on the line. They talk for a bit, and that’s that.

Apparently it happens from time to time. It wasn’t a huge deal, and I wasn’t in trouble, but my dad made sure to put the proper call line on my grandmother’s speed dial and he had a talk to me about how I can’t use that number if it’s not an emergency.


A woman was reporting that a neighbour had forced the caller’s 8 year old son into eating 4 or 5 pears that he had shaken off her tree. It was really difficult to keep a straight voice and really difficult to know how to classify that from the pre-defined categories on the system. In the end I went with “anti-social behaviour” and dispatch sent a PCSO to calm her down.


On the iPhone you can snooze your alarm by pressing the lock button, coincidentally you can also call 911 by pressing the lock button multiple times, I’ve done this twice now and both times the guy on the line laughed at me.

Image credits: StabSnowboarders


A caller wanting police to investigate the amazon package on the side of the road, in case it was stolen.


‘The fuel pump won’t accept my card’ told them it wasn’t a police matter and hung straight up.


I know a few 911 operators and they tell me that they consistently get 911 calls “to make sure it works.”

Clearly, in this day and age when idiots seem to rule, this needs to be said. 911 does indeed work. You’ll find out when the cops arrive at your door and give you a blast of s**t for being among the most stupid people in the nation. And hopefully a hefty fine as well.


Best one started at about 2am and ran until almost 5. Woman, lost in woods. Woke up, didn’t know her name or where she was. Said shed been abducted. This was pre smartphone and cell hits back then we’re 50/50. Some providers you got a great location, others might be a mile radius. This was the latter.

It was February, abnormally cold year, so hypothermia was a concern. Ended up with two helos looking (this county had three), numerous cars and fire trucks out searching.

So finally one of the ground units finds her car. Vehicle totaled, yellow paint down the side. About a mile back up the road is the school bus farm where they park all the county busses. Go to check it and yup, someone hit half the busses in there. Get the bloodhounds on her trail and they find her in a drainage pipe, hiding from the cops. Concussed, lost, but aware enough to know she didn’t want to be found.

She was your average central Florida chronic drunk. Left bar, brained herself driving through a school bus parking lot (through a chain link fence), made it another mile before car died.


(during birdflu) My dog just sniffed a dead pigeon and then sneezed. I think it has the birdflu


Called out for a 2 yr old with hand-mouth-foot disease (common viral disease that causes irritating pustules). Mother called an ambulance because her 2 YEAR OLD didn’t want to go the hospital. Had to explain to the mother that she is the decision maker and that she can simply pick the baby up and place her in the car seat even if she fusses. So she did. This was a 911, lights and sirens emergency call out.


Had a lady call in because she wanted her neighbor’s trash moved since she had company coming over. Trash pickup was the next day so it’s not even like the neighbor had it out too early.


I once called 911 to ask them to get me an Uber. It…. Was not my finest moment.


“My chair is trying to kill me.” (Older woman who would consistently lean too hard into her recliner and flip it. She strategically had her landline right there.)


1 in 5 calls on some days would be people asking for police and going, “but I want NON emergency.” Or calling 911 to ask for the 10 digit non emerg #.


50 year old who had a dr appointment at the dr office and was too tired to walk there so wanted an ambulance to bring her to her appointment.


“I just left my groceries on the bus. Can you send a car to intercept it please?”
Source: boredpanda.com

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