As a person in her twenties, there is nothing that leaves me as sweaty and anxious as those moments where my cell phone malfunctions. Although I drop my phone much too often to ever really be surprised if it stops working, every time the screen freezes or an app takes too long to load, I wonder if this extremely expensive device that contains my entire life is finally on its last legs.
During my most recent trip to the Apple Store with a malfunctioning iPhone, I was told that my phone had been impossible to turn on for 14 hours because its software got overloaded and had what was technically referred to as “a panic”, which caused it to completely shut down. (I’ve honestly never felt closer to a piece of technology.)
However, my mild panic over not being able to use my cell phone is nothing compared to the response that Ohio woman Seloni Khetarpal had when her parents cut off her cell phone service.
She called 911. Repeatedly.
Jail records show that Khetarpal, 36, repeatedly called emergency dispatchers because her parents had terminated her cellphone service, which they paid for.
Some of you might have the urge to judge her because her parents were paying her cell phone bill well into her thirties, but hey, a family plan can be a good deal!
The wildest part of this story is that it doesn’t even end there. After her first round of calls, Khetarpal was contacted by an officer who suggested that she only call emergency services for things that are, well, an emergency.
AND THEN SHE CALLED AGAIN.
Two hours later, she called again and “was belligerent and stated she believed it to be a legitimate issue,” according to jail records.
She ended up getting arrested and was charged with “disrupting police services,” which serves as yet another reminder that this country criminalizes everything, and also that we each have our own definition of what constitutes an emergency.
I have... so many questions, but I’m mostly curious about how exactly Khetarpal expected emergency services to help her with this particular problem. Was she asking them specific questions about restoring her cell phone service? Did she want them to go arrest her parents? Did she think she was calling a Verizon-specific emergency services line?
And there’s one last thing I just can’t stop wondering: if her cell phone was turned off, how did she even call 911?