Waiting for 911

Several months ago my husband had a nearly unbelievable interaction with a citizen. I say nearly unbelievable because it really did happen but one can’t help but wonder HOW?!

A motorist assist. A vehicle ‘broke down’ on US-131. A dark night. Upon his arrival he finds a distraught young lady – she’s in her early twenties and tells him she is a student at Western Michigan University (that’s the first problem… she’s a Bronco.) <Insert a jubilant “Fire up Chips!” here> 🙂

 Anyway, back to the story… she tells him she’s coming from a job interview and she’s lost and needs help getting back to her apartment, not far from WMU’s campus. My husband says, “follow me, I’ll show you the way”. She says, “I can’t. I’m out of gas too because I’ve been driving around for three hours trying to get home.” He figures the interview must have been some distance away if she’d been driving for three hours. Then she tells him her interview was at the mall. Crossroads Mall. In Portage. So somewhere between WMU’s campus and The Crossroads Mall in Portage (literally, like 12 minutes apart via US-131/I-94) she has burned an entire tank of gas and 3 hours of her life driving in circles. This statement should have been flag #2.

At that point he tells her he’ll take her to the nearest gas station so she can get a gallon of gas and get her car off the freeway, THEN they’ll address the whole being lost issue. Her response? “No thanks. I think I’ll just wait for 911 to come help me.”……… He then gently explains to her, “I AM 911. Who else would you like to wait for? A dispatcher with a wireless headset and a gas can?” Now, it’s a good thing my husband has the patience of Jobe because I probably would have just said, “Have fun with that” and left the girl there to ‘wait for 911’ – whatever that means. But he’s probably a better person than me so that’s not what he did.

So after he transported her to the gas station he tells her to go buy a gas can and pay for a gallon of gas, which he will pump for her and then put in her vehicle back along the freeway so he can finally get her back on her way. But before she goes inside she asks if he can take her to a PNC bank so she can get some money because she has no cash. It’s 11:00pm. He explains that there are no banks open, so she’ll need to use the ATM inside the gas station. She tells him she can’t use the ATM because “it’s too complicated and never works”. Frustrated at this point he tells her to just go try.

20 minutes later she comes back out, empty-handed, and asks if he has five cents. Now he just happened to have a quarter in his pocket that he had found in the parking lot at the start of his shift, so he gave it to her in hopes of ending this nightmare call. She FINALLY comes out with a gas can and he fills it with one gallon of gas and transports her back to her vehicle.

After ‘filling’ her tank with the lone gallon of gas he says, “Ok, so what apartment complex are you trying to get to?” She then says, “Well, I don’t know the address or the name of the complex yet. I just moved there. But it’s not far from campus and there’s a bar on the corner. But I don’t know the name of the bar.” In complete exasperation and with no other options he just points her in the direction of campus and says, “I’m sure you’ll know it when you see it.” He then says a little prayer that the tank of gas gets her at least far enough so that he doesn’t have to deal with her again. Bless her heart.

He said after the fact that he really should have called the place she interviewed and warned them. I said he should have called her parents and told them that they had completely failed. But he didn’t. For all we know she’s still driving in circles on US-131, and “waiting for 911” to come to her rescue.


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