The Wrong Number

From the Publisher



Driving home a couple of weeks ago, I got a call from a South Florida number that I didn’t recognize. So, I answered in my normal manner, saying, “This is Brian.” I immediately became the target of a vicious verbal attack from a woman who threatened that if I didn’t go to her daughter’s apartment to change the battery in her smoke detector there would be serious repercussions. She continued with a litany of personal attacks on my competency.

Obviously, she thought she was calling the manager of her daughter’s apartment in a student complex. Instead of hanging up, I took the opportunity to have a little fun and to guide her through some self-discovery. After a minute of her nonstop diatribe, I asked her, “With whom am I speaking?” She replied that she was Mrs. Robert blah-blah-blah and her husband is a senior partner with the law firm of blah-blah-blah. I then asked from where she was calling. Her response … Singer Island.

Okay, at this point, based on her disclosures, I know she is rich and married to a high-powered South Florida attorney. So, I told her that this is the first I have been made aware of her daughter’s problem with a beeping smoke alarm that is apparently causing her much distress.

Her response? “So now you know, and get your ass over there to fix it now! Or, you will be hearing from my husband, and you will probably be looking for a job when he’s done.” 

The insults continued. And now, there’s a blatant threat. So, I asked two questions as I trembled with fear.

Is your daughter the young lady I saw the other day with both her arms in a sling? The answer: No.

Is your daughter our tenant who has the severe speech impediment and has problems communicating? The answer: No.

“Well, Mrs. Blah-blah-blah, then may I ask why your special princess is unable to walk 100 yards to our office or dial a phone herself and call me directly to ask that her battery be changed? I see she felt it necessary to call her ‘mommy’ to have this life-threatening situation resolved,” I said.

There was silence on the phone. After one, two, three, four, five seconds, she replied, “You have no idea who you are speaking with and you had better pack your bags now you (obscenity deleted).”

That response gave me the oomph to push this a little further as she took the Reese Witherspoon approach of, “Do you know my name?”

I said, “Yes, I do know who you are. You are an extremely rude and very inappropriate individual who has raised a daughter incapable of performing even the most simple actions of a functioning human being. Unless she personally walks down to my property office, politely fills out a repair order and hands it to me, I will be forced to let hell freeze over before the battery gets changed.”

The woman began screaming into the phone so loudly I couldn’t understand much of what she said. After another minute of nasty language and threats, I added, “Oh, by the way, you dialed the wrong number.” Then I hung up. In a few minutes, the phone rang again. I let it ring.

That’s probably the most fun I have had driving home in a long time. But this is a scary situation that some of our youth find themselves in. Imagine the type of parenting this child has received. Imagine how unprepared this kid is for life. Imagine the poor guy she marries. How will she act when she enters the business field or goes into politics or government work? 

Parents, take note. Teach your kids to stand on their own two feet. Let them fall down once in awhile. They will figure it out. Quit enabling them, because everyone loses when you do.

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