We teach kids to call 911 when there is an emergency. But “emergency” means different things to different kids. For some kids, an emergency is a family member suffering a serious accident. For others, it’s losing a sock, or being hungry, or finding mommy napping and thinking she’s dead.
In the following stories, 911 operators share the most hilarious reasons that kids called 911.
40. Whoever Smelt It, Dealt It
My uncle is a dispatcher in my hometown and once received a call from a hysterical 4-year-old saying that his older brother had farted on him, and the kid hung up quickly after his explanation.
Laughing so hard he had to catch his breath before dialing, my uncle called the number back and got the kid’s mother on the line. He explained to her the call he’d just received and that he just wanted to make sure everything was alright. She was mortified and kept apologizing over and over, but my uncle said it was a welcome moment of levity during a stressful holiday workweek.
39. Poor Steve
My cousin called 911 once because she was giving her lizard a bath and it went down the drain. It was a tiny house gecko named Steve. She called crying that Steve was drowning and had gone down the drain.
By the time the dispatcher figured out Steve was a gecko, the police and fire department were already pulling in. She was like 6 or so at the time but I still tease her about it. I do feel bad for Steve, though.
38. That’s So Rude Of You, Dora!
Not an operator but the person on the other side. My brother showed me a video (I think it was called YouTube poop?) It was a type of parody video at the time and it was Dora saying the F word. I called the police and said, “Dora said the F word” and hung up.
I end up telling my mom and soon enough the cops call back. They explain that they’ll be coming over to talk to me so I hide under a blanket for the next couple of hours (I fell asleep). Turns out my mom managed to convince them not to come and I peed myself for no reason.
37. Old But Gold
The kid in question must’ve been about three or four. Mommy put him down for a nap and went out jogging while daddy was outside doing yard work. The kid woke up early and looked for mommy around the house but couldn’t find her, so he called 911.
The conversation went like this: Kid: “I can’t find Mommy anywhere!” Operator: “Is your daddy around?” Kid: “Yeah, but he’s outside digging a big hole.” Cops got there fast and didn’t leave until mommy got back from her run.
36. Call Of Appreciation
I had a little one call into our center about 10 times just so she could tell us that she loved us and appreciated us, and that we were doing such a great job. Our center is pretty big, so she would get a different person almost every time. However, if she got you more than once, she would say something like, “Nooo, I already told you! I need to tell someone else. You’re great, but they need to know they’re great, too! Okay, I love you, bye!”
It was all from a disconnected cell and we weren’t really getting a great phase on her location, but she stopped after about an hour so it wasn’t super concerning. It made my day! I hope she grows up and keeps that big heart of hers; we need more people like her in the world.
35. Whoopie Whoopie!
I had a six-year-old girl accidentally call 911 saying that her mommy and daddy were making whoopie. I had flashbacks of Family Feud and laughed so hard.
I waited a few minutes and called back and her mom tried to play it off saying they were wrapping Christmas presents. Yeah, sure lady. If your present is a new little brother or sister.
I worked as a 911 operator while I was in college and one time a kid called in (I think he was 4 or 5 years old), and the first thing he said when I picked up the phone was, “Help! I shidded and farded!”
I could barely contain my laughter as this young child was essentially screaming, “I shidded and farded I need help cause I shidded and farded!”
33. Arrest Your Wife! Now!
My dad was the Chief of Police when I was growing up, and I spent a lot of time at the station. When I was 4 or 5, my mom wouldn’t let me do something, so I called the emergency line (pre-911 days) and after the “Police, what is your emergency” greeting, I very sternly requested that they arrest my mother.
The dispatcher recognized the address I was calling from and called my dad to tell him that I was on the emergency line and what I wanted. I got a lecture that night, but from what my dad says, they had a good laugh about it at the station.
32. You Can See It On His Face
My kid was 17 months old and impossible to tie down. While I was cooking dinner one night he went into the study and somehow dialed triple zero (911 in Australia). I think he was trying to talk to his grandma but panicked when a stranger’s voice came down the line instead. I caught him and hung up the phone, not knowing he’d actually dialed anyone, then went back to cooking butter chicken for dinner. Fourteen minutes later the police were on my doorstep. They came in urgently, looking for “an old man who might have fallen down.” The emergency line operator had asked several questions, but the only response she had gotten was heavy, labored breathing so she thought it was an old man too injured to speak.
Luckily for us, it was just a sneaky and confused toddler wheezing. We figured it out and I brought my kid out to meet the policemen. One of them said, “Yeah, that’d be the perp. Look at the guilty look on his face.” Funnily enough, my kid did have an expression of extreme chagrin. Possibly the first and last time he ever felt guilty for anything.
31. When Humiliation Turns Into A Cool Experience
When my little brother was in 1st grade, he was a super deep sleeper. Such a deep sleeper, in fact, that my sister was able to dress him in a frilly ballerina tutu while he was taking a nap. I guess they’d just done the whole “911 is for emergencies” lecture at school because when he woke up he ran to the landline crying in a blubbering mess. I didn’t know what was going on, but I knew he wasn’t supposed to be playing with the phone so I pulled it out of his hand and hung it up.
About five minutes later, the single cop in our tiny town showed up in our driveway. He knocked on the door and my brother answered, still wearing the tutu. The cop looked down and said, “Oh, I guess I found the emergency.” He then sat down with my crying brother for about 20 minutes and tried to cheer him up by letting him turn on the police lights and even pretend to drive the car. Afterward, he gave the expected lecture that calling 911 was for real emergencies and told him that if his big sister picked on him again, he should tell our parents before getting the police involved. It was a really funny day and ended up being a really cool moment for him.
If you didn’t know, cell phones with no service can still dial 911. It’s a nuisance because we can’t call them back and are rarely able to trace them. Also, some people give them to their kids to play with and they end up dialing 911 over and over.
One night it was so bad we sent an officer to look for the phone-based off of rough GPS. The operator was warning the child that dialing 911 is illegal and he could get in trouble. The kid, without missing a beat, said, “Then put some minutes on my phone, witch!” We kept that recording for a long time.
29. Scaredy Cat
A couple of years back I got a call from a kid who was about 6 or 7, stating that his brother (who was about the same age) had hit him. Since that’s more of a parental than a police matter, I politely asked him if I could speak to a parent. “NO!” was his reply. I lowered my voice an octave and said, “Let me talk to your mom or dad,” only to get the same reply from the kid.
Then I went into semi-angry but totally serious ADULT mode and firmly said, “Put one of your parents on the phone or I’m sending the police to (his address).” He paused for a moment, and then I could hear him start vomiting in the background out of fear. We did wind up sending the police out to chat with the young man as I was never able to speak to a parent to verify that everything was OK, and he received a long lecture.
28. How Could You Do That, Dad?!
When I was about 4 years old and my younger brother was 1, both our parents were cops. My mom was working dispatch that day and my dad was the resident deputy of the tiny town we lived in about 20 miles out from a bigger city. We also lived right next to an airstrip with no building or hangars, just a small runway for little planes to land on. Well, this day a plane had wrecked and my dad was off duty but decided to go take care of it since we lived like 200 feet away and he was a cop. However, he ill-advisedly left my 4-year-old self to look after my 18-month-old brother, who was just getting good at running around and being horrible. The only thing I remember is standing in the kitchen trying to get to the snacks I wasn’t supposed to have when this wretched smell hit me. I looked over and my younger brother has had a MAJOR blow out; there was poop going from his ankles all the way up his back into his pretty little curls. I instantly started crying because the tyke was known for such accidents. Considering it an emergency I called 911, not knowing my mom was on dispatch. When she answered and I heard her voice I just started balling my eyes out, hyperventilating, and trying to explain my emergency.
She realized it was me and asked, “(My name), honey, where is your dad?” and told her that he was off dealing with some plane crash. I was distraught and my mom was freakin’ ticked that my dad left us alone, but she walked me through how to put my brother in the bath like she did. This was 1993 so we didn’t have a cordless phone, just a 20ft cord that only reached halfway down the hallway to the bathroom. So there I was, bawling and screaming to my mom from the bathroom that my brother was playing in poopy water and getting it all over me! Years later when I was older, my parents told me that as soon as my dad made it to the plane the first responders sent him back because my mom dispatched them and said that if he didn’t get his butt back home to the kids, they’d be taking out a body. C’mon, dad, don’t leave little kids alone!
27. A Different Kind Of Fight
I had a kid call in because he thought that daddy was hurting mommy. All he could hear was heavy breathing in the bedroom, and what he said sounded like crying.
The units arrived on the scene and it was just his parents making the kid a little sibling. The mother, from what I heard, was mortified with embarrassment.
26. “Dad Is Trying To Make Me Do Things That I Don’t Wanna Do”
I was maybe 5 years old when this happened. I remember playing with all my toys and making a huge mess all over the house. I was finally finished playing for the evening when my father asked that I pick everything up and put it away. I refused. There was a lot of back and forth with him making threats about how much trouble I’d be in should I fail to comply, but I stood my ground and continued to ignore him. As things got more heated, I don’t recall the “trigger moment,” but I called 911 and said, “My dad is trying to make me do things that I don’t wanna do.” I was too innocent to realize that, to the authorities, that sounded like my dad was abusing me. The police came and he clarified the situation, but they still recommended that my family get help from a social worker.
They visited probably two or three times in total and I was given the good-touch/bad-touch routine, and I also tried to explain that the actual issue was over picking up Legos. The social worker also spent time with my parents, I assume to coach them on not raising a little punk. I was grounded for a whole summer after that.
25. Hello My Friend
I had this toddler call in on a 911-only phone (virtually every unsubscribed phone can still dial 911 so this happens quite often). She did not sound distressed and wasn’t saying anything that made me believe anyone else might be in danger. The toddler disconnected the line after a few seconds before we could get a Phase-2 Plot on her location (Phase-1 Plot only provides the location of the tower). The little boy or girl calls back a few times and I talk to her, asking her nicely if I can please speak with mommy or daddy. She just tells me, “No, I want you to talk to me.” So I do for a couple of minutes. At this point, we already have the location within several meters so we have an officer en route that way to do a welfare check.
Apparently, I’m her new “friend” so every time she calls and someone else in the center answers she asks to talk to her friend. Everyone in the center thought it was sooo cuuuute. It was pretty cute and we weren’t busy so I just tried my best to keep her talking although I couldn’t understand most of her words. The officer shows up and advises that everything is good. Just a kid playing with an old phone. I don’t know, it just put a smile on my face that this kid kept asking for me.
24. Ding Ding Dong
I was on the job when 911 first was implemented in my county in the late 1980s. When I answered “911, what is your emergency,” the kid said, “My ding-dong is too short” and, of course, he hung up laughing, not realizing that with 911 we knew where he was.
Thirty minutes later, the sergeant had him at the station explaining to me why he used such bad language “to such a nice lady.” I just retired last year after 30 years in the Comm Center.
23. So Who Got The “Good” Burger?
When we were younger and home alone, my sister called the police on my brother because they both wanted the same In-N-Out burger. We had four identical burgers, but they wanted the same one.
The police came to our house and explained to us why we shouldn’t call the police for no reason. Our mom came home in the middle of their lecture. She was not happy.
22. Please Help, I’m Starving
I had a little boy call 911 to tell me he was hungry and needed breakfast. I asked him if he was alone and he said no his sister was watching him but she was sleeping. I told him he should go wake his sister to have her make him breakfast and he said, “Nah, she is really mean and she won’t be nice to me!” I said OK, you stay in the house and I will take care of this.
His mom was an EMT so I knew his family. I called his grandma and had her go take care of the breakfast crisis and his sister had no idea. His mom later called to apologize and I just asked her to explain the general rules of 911.
21. R.I.P. Purple Dino
For my 5th birthday, I had a Barney the dinosaur theme. Apparently the story goes that my uncle was in the suit and my sister wouldn’t stop following him around. At some point, he got really hot (Arizona) and went to the bedroom to take the suit off. Said suit came off in sections so head, arms and body.
My sister followed him into the house and when she opened the door because barney was taking so long she saw him in pieces on the floor. She calls 911 and cried and cried that Barney has been killed in the room. A helicopter, SWAT team, and many police officers arrive at my birthday party and find Barney the dinosaur in the room.
20. Kid Wasn’t Informed
A 4-year-old kid calls to say both her parents are missing and there’s someone else sleeping in their bed. Immediately I send police in case this kid is about to be killed by this person.
When the cops arrive, the kid’s grandma answered and says their parents are in Ohio for the weekend. All this time the kids still on the line, saying some “scary men in dark clothing” are talking to his grandma. I told him it was just the police, he hung up soon afterwards, which I heard the kid’s name being shouted by the grandma.
19. Popping-ly Disgusting
A little kid called to say that his uncle was “putting needles in his arm.” The area he was calling from is pretty well known for substance use and we had trouble actually locating exactly where he was.
His uncle WAS, in fact, putting needles in his arm … to pop a cyst. Disgusting? Yes. Worth pulling three cars off the road? No.
18. Play Dead Doggie
A kid called in, saying he shot his dog. I asked him where his parents were, and he said they were on the porch (at this point I got a hunch). I asked if the parents could hear the gun and he said, “No, it doesn’t make a sound when it squirts.” After telling the kid to call the dog by his name, the dog reacted and we could only hear a happy kid.
Turns out, the dog was trained and played dead when seeing a gun pointed at him. After calling the parents five minutes later, turned out the kid was a major police fan and was goofing around with the dog. They got invited over, the kid made an apology drawing. It’s still on the fridge of the station, waiting for him to become a cop and see his own drawing every day.
17. For The Gumball!
My mom had told me (probably with a much more sincere and somber tone than I interpreted) that if I was ever in trouble or needed something, I could call 911 to reach the police. She also mentioned that it didn’t matter where I was or if I had any money because dialing 911 was free (this was in the 90s so payphones were still a thing).
One day we were at the park and I wanted a gumball from the little machine. I didn’t have any money and my mom didn’t have any change, so I thought, “Hmm, maybe the police will have a quarter I can borrow.” I proceeded to call 911 and ask for change for my gumball. I obviously knew it was a wrong thing to do because I got scared after the lady said hello and hung up. This led to about three police officers showing up to nothing but a bratty child who wanted a treat. My mom was mortified and I learned a lesson about what warrants a phone call to 911.
16. I Told Yah!
Not a 911 operator, but my parents love to bring this story up so I thought I’d share. One morning when I was about 4 or 5 I called 911 to tell them that nobody in the house was dead. They wanted to speak to my parents, and I kept insisting they didn’t need to because no one was dead.
Eventually, I hung up on them and they called back and got to speak to my parents, WHO WERE ALIVE AS PROMISED.
15. Lesson Learned
My son called 911 when he was 11. We were out Christmas shopping for him and he was calling every two minutes trying to find out what we were buying and where we were. He was staying by himself after school at this point and was never scared to be alone for a couple of hours.
I stopped answering the phone, so he called 911. I get home to three cop cars outside the house. The cops were laughing about the whole thing once we explained it.
14. Jane Vs. John
I have two favorites, the first of which was short and sweet: Me: “911, where’s your emergency?” Kid: “Wow, this really is the cops!” *Click* For the second one, I answered and there was a second of giggling before the phone disconnected. As with all hang-ups, I called back and a child answered. “Hi, this is (my name) from the 911 center. We just received a call from this line.” *Click*
I called back again, and it rang at least six or seven times before a very tired sounding man answered. “Hi, this is (my name) from the 911 center, we just received a call from this line?” “No,” he responded, obviously not fully awake. “Yes sir, we heard some noises then we called back and a child answered.” There was a pause and then we hear him shout, “Jane, John, get in here, now! Did one of you call 911?!” Pause for what I can only assume was some vigorous head shaking. “The police are on the phone and say someone did!” Then there was a loud gasp. “John did it, daddy! I told him not to! I can’t go to jail!” She ratted him out immediately. It turned out the poor dad was home sick with the flu and the mom had run to the store thinking they’d be fine watching TV for 20 minutes. That was not the case.
13. First Period Disaster
Not a 911 operator; I was the one who made the call. This happened when I was in about 5th grade; I hadn’t received the “talk” about puberty and menstruation yet. What happened was I was home alone with my two brothers who were around 5 and 11 years old at the time. I had gotten my first period and started flipping out because I didn’t know why I was bleeding when I went to use the bathroom.
I called my older brother over in hysterics and told him to call 911 and he obliged. I’m pretty sure what he told the operator was “HELP MY SISTER IS BLEEDING TO DEATH WE NEED HELP” and hung up … not even five minutes later we had two ambulances, a few cops, and a sheriff banging at our door. Needless to say, none of them were pleased and my brother and I got the “talk” that day from our parents …
12. Well That Socks
My 5-year-old sister called 911 to call for help in finding a lost sock. She was frustrated because we weren’t helping her. Unbeknownst to us, she made the call in her room and didn’t mention anything to anyone. The cops knock on the door, and my brother answers; they flip their lid as soon as they see him, and start shouting orders at him while keeping their hands on their holster. The cops keep asking where the child is, and she hears the commotion and walks out.
One officer questions my brother near their patrol car while the other talks to my sis. Once the cops realize what’s really going on they breathe a sigh of relief. They mentioned that the 911 operator received a call from a child asking for help that then hung up. They also said that they’ve been dealing with a child trafficking case and thought the worst. They apologized and left, but CPS still came by a few days later to check on the home.
11. When Battling Cards Go Wrong
I was babysitting my brothers, who were 6 and 8 at the time, when they got into a fight over Yu Gi Oh cards. The 6-year-old called 911 crying, but didn’t explain the situation. I was cooking when the phone rang, and a lady on the other end said someone in my house had called 911. Confused, I told her everything seemed fine, but she heard kids crying in the background and wouldn’t believe me. Meanwhile, the 8-year-old came running down the stairs with a blanket tied to his back, because he was afraid that he would be arrested and thought that the cape would make him seem more childish (thus making the police “go easier” on him).
Fifteen minutes later, two officers showed up at our doorstep, looking concerned and intimidating. I made my brothers apologize and explain to them what exactly had happened, and watched the officers (unsuccessfully) try to keep a straight face while lecturing them on the proper use of 911.
10. When You’re Into The Game
This happened a few years back when my eldest (who was three at the time) was supposed to be sleeping in the master bedroom while my wife was with some friends and I was watching football on the television. Apparently, my son wasn’t sleeping because he got hold of my cell phone and somehow dialed 911. At that point in the game, the referees were doing their best to blow the game for my team and, as is often the case, I had the volume turned down so that I didn’t have to listen to the announcers and to keep things quiet for my sleeping son. Of course, that all went out the window when the operator heard me cursing and, apparently, threatening physical harm to the refs. Hearing only my side of the argument and sensing an escalation of the situation, the police were dispatched.
Needless to say, I was pretty surprised when the officer came knocking. We pieced the story together, but he called my wife to make sure that everything was good on her end. After she stopped laughing, she explained to the officer that I can get pretty worked up while watching a game. The cop got a chuckle and watched the last minute or two (we lost) with me before leaving.
9. Chit Chat While Waiting
My favorite call recently was from an 11-year-old kid who was walking home from school and got lost. He called 911 so I told him to stay where he was until officers arrived.
We didn’t have officers available for about 30 minutes, so we just spent half an hour chatting about Fortnite. I guess not exactly a funny call, but it was enjoyable!
8. Grandma, Is That You?
My mom told me a story about when I was younger and I called 911 looking for my grandmother. (Thinking that was her phone number) I hung up when they said that “my grandmother wasn’t there.” This was after talking to the dispatch lady for about 10 minutes talking to her about “school that day, my grandma, and how much I loved her.”
Obviously, they called back hoping there was a parent home. When I answered saying “Hi grandma,” they asked to speak to my mom. I went into the bathroom while my mom was in the shower and let her know the police were on the phone looking for grandma … I wasn’t allowed to touch the phone for a while after that …
7. Not An Emergency
Not an operator, but my uncle who is an alcoholic would show up at our house growing up. It wasn’t a big deal most of the time, but we usually had to call the police to take him back to the halfway house.
One time this happened while my mom was out, so my brother called 911. When they answered “Hello 911, what’s your emergency?” My brother, who was maybe 10, answered, “Hello, this is NOT an emergency.”
6. Stuck In The Couch
My husband called 911 when he was a kid because his sister got stuck in the couch. They were at his grandmother’s house. She was very old and could not help.
The kids had been playing on one of those fold out couch beds when it closed up with his sister inside. His mother and aunt pulled up to the house to find a fire truck and police.
5. Bad Boys Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do?
My personal favorite is from when my husband was little. My brother-in-law was babysitting my husband one day and he fell asleep on the couch. My brother-in-law snored and snoring so my oh so concerned husband called the cops and told them his brother died.
When the cops showed up, he was standing in the door singing “bad boys bad boys whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you” while jumping up and down.
4. When Mommy’s Not Moving
My little brother called 911 when he was three and said: “Mommy isn’t moving.” I’m in the kitchen helping make dinner, I hear this banging at the door.
Two EMTs and a cop are standing there and I have no idea what’s going on. My brother didn’t really know what a “nap” was; he had never seen mom asleep before. We find the phone off the hook (dates me a bit, but fine) and the toddler hiding under the couch. The cop laughed it off.
3. A Weird Dream
When I was a kid, I remember having an extremely vivid dream of calling 911, but the operator couldn’t understand anything I was saying. I was speaking, but the operator acted like I wasn’t saying anything. That morning, when I woke up, my dad came into my room and said, “Something really weird happened to me last night.”
I cut him off and said that something weird happened to me too, and explained the dream. He just stared at me for a while then said, “The weird thing that happened to me is that cops showed up at our house at 5 a.m. last night.”
2. Don’t Spank Me, Mommy!
OK, so a long time ago … I was that jerk little kid. I did something that I CLEARLY wasn’t supposed to do, so my mom spanked me, and believe me I deserved it. She didn’t, like, try to kill me or anything; I was just so hurt that my own mother would spank me. Anyhow … I called 911, and I was like “She hit me!” I’m sure it was one of those things that the operator would have to send someone anyways to make sure the kid isn’t being abused (I wasn’t, but I was spoiled).
A few moments later, two officers came through and I’m pretty sure they already knew that this was not an emergency. They promptly left after my mom explained to them that I was misbehaving and she merely spanked me … But not before I asked them for a police badge sticker, which they gave me and thus further reinforced my spoiled mentality.
1. Stolen Costume
When I was little, I had a cheap, plastic, toy shield that came with a sword and helmet. Imagine a cheap “knight” Halloween costume for kids like you get at Walmart.
Anyway, one day I lost it. I couldn’t find it anywhere in my playroom. I concluded that it had been stolen so I called 911 to report it. Luckily my parents caught me still on the phone and explained the situation to the operator and apologized. Turns out I had left it in the yard earlier that day.