March 14th, 2011 12:09 EST
A Cheap Way to Pick Up Women: Call the Wrong Number
"I called a wrong number and got a new girlfriend!" these were the words that an elderly gentleman friend said to me during our last telephone conversation. You see, my friend, William, is 82 years old. He has trouble seeing, and he might have some confusion issues as well. To be honest, I have never met William; I plan on it soon, but we haven`t been able to arrange an in-person meet yet. It`s by accident that I know William at all. I only know him because he keeps calling me. I am his wrong number.
William calls me when he is trying to contact his daughter who has a similar number. In fact, if you transpose the last two digits of my number, you get her number. So, William, in his sometimes foggy state, calls my house.
Our friendship started last year. I had just finished a phone interview for a story I was doing. I was about to get up from my desk when I saw my personal line light up. I answered it, and an elderly man jumped into a frantic rant about his blood sugar being high and how his palpitations were making him feel as if his heart was breaking through his chest. The thought that this man, who I knew nothing about, was dying on the other end of the phone sent me into a state of panic. Although I was starting to get emotional, I managed to have enough common sense to keep him on the line while I used my cell phone to call 911.This is what I must have sounded like to the 911 operator.
"Oh my God, there is an old man, and I don`t know who he is, but he`s dying, and you have to get to him and he is having palpitations!"
"Miss, calm down!" The nice man on the other side of the phone commanded. "Who is he and where is he?"
"Uh, I don`t know. He just called me! I think he is in real trouble"
"You don`t know. Someone out of the blue just called you and told you he was dying? Do you take medications?"
"NO! He`s a stranger for God`s sake! Pay attention!"
"Okay, where did he call you from?"
"From his phone! Where do you think?"
"I mean from what number did he call?"
"Oh, I have that! I have caller ID."
"Good girl!" He responded with delight as if he was complimenting a freaking six-year-old instead of a middle-aged moron.
The dispatcher was able to find out where William lived and sent the police and ambulance. The police called me later to say they brought William to the hospital, and he was not happy with them or apparently me because I turned him into the cops. Three days later, the hospital sprung him and his family put him in an assisted living facility where all residents-- get this -- has their own phone. And so my phone rang again.
"Jeannie, my blood sugar is high and I can`t find my medicines"
"William, it`s me, Donna " not Jeannie. How about you tell me Jeannie`s last name so I can call her?"
"Why do you want to know that? Are you going to rob her? Maybe I should call the police on you."
I could tell this was going to be a no-win situation. Finally, I did manage to convince him that I had no intention of harming him, but since he keeps calling me, it would be best if I knew his emergency information so I could contact the right people and not bother 911. So, he gave me Jeannie`s last name, and it turns out that she lived right around the corner from me.
I thought we were okay and got things straightened out until about an hour later when the police showed up at my door investigating a threat I supposedly made against William. Well, the police seemed to agree that I was not ready to be on America`s Most Wanted, so they didn`t arrest me. They confirmed my 911 adventures with William and the dispatcher, and that was fortunate because with the recession and everything, I wasn`t sure if I would have the extra money for bail.
Well, we finally did set up an emergency phone chain between William, me and Jeannie. A few days ago, William called again and said, "Jeannie, I need you to go get my medicine."
"William, it`s Donna. I will call Jeannie for you. Are you okay?"
Oh, Donna. See, I called the wrong number and got a new girlfriend. If only I was a bit younger..."
Yes, William is feeling much better these days.