Tim Teneyck was a 911 dispatcher in Oregon, Ohio, for 14 years. While every day looked different, his routine was pretty much similar all around. His job was to answer 911 calls, make sense of the situation, and send the appropriate help.
However, one day, he received a call from a woman who wanted to order pizza delivery. He assumed she had the wrong number and played along. But there was more to it than he thought...
He Was About To Hang Up
When Tim picked up the phone on his shift at the 911 dispatching center, he certainly wasn't expecting to hear: "I would like to order a pizza." A false 911 emergency call is a felony. Yet, the National Emergency Number Association reports that phantom wireless calls account for between 25 and 70 percent of all 911 calls.
Tim thought that this was probably just another prank call. But, before hanging up, Tim reiterated the question just to make sure: "you called 911 to order a pizza?!"
The woman on the other end of the line didn't backtrack, confirming, "yeah". She then gave Tim her address and apartment number, but Tim was still confused. He still didn't hang up, and played along. He was curious so he answered: "this is the wrong number to call for a pizza."
He Realized Something Was Wrong
At this point, the voice on the other line can be heard slightly panicking as the woman insists" "No, no, no, you're not understanding," .Although he'd never received a call like this in his 14 years on the job, Tim realized something was very wrong.
That's when it clicked. The woman was in a situation where she couldn't get out or be heard calling for him. Tim reassured her: " oh, I'm getting you now." It took a moment, but Tim quickly realized that it was up to him to decipher what was going on and help the woman.
Starting To Investigate
Tim put the pieces together rather quickly. He didn't ask for detail, he simply asked the woman yes or no questions to assess how great of a threat she was in. He asked her if she was in a domestic fight situation, and she said yes. So he went from there, asking for more clarity, like: "id the other guy still there?" to which she answered: " yep, I need a large pizza."
Then Tim proceeded to inquire if she needed any medical attention, "what about medical? Do you need other medical attention?" The woman remained under cover, using "yes or no" to answer his questions and adding pizza-related information not to raise the man's suspicions. she replied: " no, just pepperoni"
The Police Showed Up With Sirens Off
Once he had enough information, the police dispatcher finally reassured the woman, "alright, we'll get them going," and the woman calmly responded: "thank you."
After using code to play along with the woman to not set any alarms on her end, he notified the police not to set any alarms or sirens as not to cause panic until they were inside.It wasn't until the Oregon Police Department arrived on the scene that Tim discovered what his caller had been so desperately trying to alert him of.
The Woman Was Found
The police arrived and found that the caller was a young woman who had called 911 because her mother was in a dangerous situation with her boyfriend. Her daughter became her hero and found a creative way to protect her.
Tiffany, the daughter, was quick on her feet; she remembers thinking: "I need to call 911, but how do I do it? How do I get him to stay in the house?" Tiffany wanted the police to find the boyfriend so they could deal with him, and so that he never could hurt her mother again. That's when the pizza came to mind.
How The Disptacher Understood The Code
The story quickly made it to the news and everyone wanted to know what made the dispatcher hang on longer to understand that the woman was speaking in code.
He explains that "she didn't go away from the story that she wanted; she stuck right to it." This is how he knew that there was something else going on. Call it a gut instinct, but something told him to stay longer on the line to see the feeling through. The instinctive feeling is usually never wrong and should be trusted.
It Was A Risk
When Tiffany was asked if he was worried that the dispatcher wouldn't know what to do, she admitted that she was. It was a risk she took anyway.
Luckily her creativity and brave thinking paid off, and the mother's boyfriend was arrested, making this young woman a hero. This shows the ripple effect of pure intentions, bravery, and a focused mindset. While Tiffany became her mother's hero, the dispatcher that understood that her call for pizza was a cry for help became her hero: "I thank him from the bottom of my heart."
We All Play A Part In a Bigger Story
We may not see it, but everything we do and say has a direct impact on ourselves, others, and the world around us. If we can go out of our way to create even more of a positive ripple effect, then we could tap into unlimited potential for change. Tiffany and the dispatcher's simple phone call changed all of their lives and saved the mother's, as well. Imagine how one conversation could change your life.
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