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Crazy guy calls: what do you do?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Gomer, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    Alright, I've got to write this one down before I forget the details...

    So we're sitting here in the newsroom, pretty boring night, when the phone rings. The night editor picks it up and the guy on the other end of the line is claiming that there's a hostage situation at the local YMCA.

    Now, this is a pretty serious thing, so the night editor hangs up and goes into red alert mode. We scramble a photographer down there but there's nothing going on. Just as I'm about to call off a reporter who decided to drive down, the phone rings again.

    The night editor answers. Five seconds later he passes me the phone with a look on his face that says "You deal with it":

    Me: Hello?
    Crazy guy: Hey. I'm going to abduct somebody at the YMCA.
    Me: Why would you do that?
    Crazy: Because I want to. It's an adrenaline rush.

    And we go on from there. Basically I consider myself a hostage negotiator at this point, but also a journalist, so I start asking questions like his name, his age, where he's from and what he does in town.

    Dude says he's a drug dealer, answers all of my questions. Seems like he's pretty desperate for attention, so I inform him that this isn't the way to get in the paper.

    Crazy guy: No? Oh.
    Me: No. If anything you'll just be in worse trouble. But say, you're a drug dealer right? Maybe we could do a story on the drug scene in town. But I'm not the guy who would do that story; those people work during the day. Think I could get your phone number and have them call you back?

    He gives me a phone number, which I call back afterwards and get, well, not him.

    We've called the cops to let them know but because there's no caller ID on our phones here there's no chance of getting the actual number he called from. We checked the name he gave us and it didn't turn anything up either, not on our database at least.

    Is this what I should have done? Is this not totally bizarre? I didn't want to just hang up and have the guy go and do what he said he was going to do.

    At the very least, this was more interesting than the crazy lady a few years back who used to call in looking to help deliver the paper. Also a tad more disconcerting.
     
  2. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    I got a call once from a guy in Canada who said George W. Bush was actually a woman and that he had proof.
     
  3. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    What made the call more interesting was that we just had a story in yesterday's edition about a bomb threat.

    Where was the bomb threat for, you ask? The YMCA, of course.

    Dude said he hadn't heard of the bomb threat.
     
  4. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    You did ask to see the proof, right?
     
  5. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    Of course. The guy just kept going on and on and on, talking circles of straight crazy. Eventually, a kid picked up the line and said, "Grandpa, I need to use the phone."
     
  6. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    Aw, that's sad. In both cases I think the caller was just lonely.
     
  7. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    Every newsroom phone should have caller ID. I can't imagine why a paper wouldn't consider that a simple, sound investment.
    I never spent much time humoring cranks unless I thought there was a story.
     
  8. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    There are papers that still don't even have voicemail.
     
  9. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    I've never worked in a newsroom that had caller ID and I don't think I've ever seen a PBX system that offered it (although I'm sure there are PBX systems with that feature).
     
  10. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    I got a call two weeks ago. This dude kept saying, "I have a big penis" over and over again. After the ninth time, I was tired of the bragging.
     
  11. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    That, or you were tired of being humbled?
     
  12. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    That's never the case. I know what I bring to the table.
     
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