Prepared to deal with almost any emergency, 911 dispatchers rarely know what sort of assistance they might need to provide on a given day.
So when an Indiana dispatcher, Antonia Bundy, received a distress call recently from an unidentified boy who “had a really bad day,” she didn’t hesitate to jump in.
“What happened at school that made you have a bad day?” Bundy asked the caller, as Fox News and other outlets reported.
Then the Lafayette dispatcher found out it was math — and more specifically, fractions — that were the cause of the boy’s anguish.
“Is there a problem you want me to help you with?” she asked the boy.
Fortunately, the call center was far from busy at that moment — so Bundy could concentrate on solving this different type of “problem.”
“I was very thankful I was able to take the time to assist him,” she said later in an interview with WLFI-TV.
In the recording of the phone call, Bundy can be heard working through the problem with the boy: What is three-fourths plus one-fourth?
After instructing him to write out the numbers on a piece of paper, the two worked together to ultimately find the answer: Three-fourths plus one-fourth equals 1.
“I’m sorry for calling you, but I really needed help,” the boy said after they had solved the pesky equation.
“You’re fine. We’re always here to help,” she answered.
Though officials made it clear that calling 911 for homework help isn’t exactly endorsed, they embraced the endearing moment between Bundy and the boy.
“They [dispatchers] train for many emergency situations — homework help is not one they plan for,” read the eventual tweet from the Lafayette Police Department.. “We don’t recommend 911 for homework help, but this dispatcher helped a young boy out and brightened his day,”
Lafayette Police Sgt. Matt Gard also commented on the unusual encounter: “We want to make sure everything is good, and make sure he knows [that] we appreciate him calling.”
911 is the center of all emergencies. This dispatcher clearly understands that it may not be an emergency to us but it is to somebody. Great job helping this very stressed young man in his time of need.
— Terin Hopkins (@thop264) January 27, 2019
Gard praised Bundy’s efforts and her rock-solid character in an interview with ABC 7: “She’s very much a dedicated employee. It doesn’t surprise us that she goes above and beyond on a regular basis,” he said.
People on Twitter, too, commended her actions.
One user illustrated the subjectivity of emergencies. “911 is the center of all emergencies,” said this person’s tweet.
“This dispatcher clearly understands that it may not be an emergency to us, but it is to somebody. Great job helping this very stressed young man in his time of need.”