The Butt Dial I Won’t Soon Forget

We’ve all gotten one of those calls before. You answer the phone, but only hear muffled noises in reply to your ‘Hello?’. A few more attempts to make contact before hanging up, and you know you’ve become victim to the butt dial. But have you ever been the one to make the phone call? I hadn’t… until this morning.

It’s a typical morning. The kids are playing and I’m bouncing from task to task, hoping to get more accomplished than I actually am. Eli requests to go out to the garage to ride his bike without training wheels. I tell him no because that would require me to take his training wheels off, something that to be totally honest (bad mother alert!) I don’t feel like doing. Annelise gets a hold of the Wii remote and, although the TV is off, I can hear the beeping and music of Mario Baseball.

I can also hear a voice. I double check the television. Nope, it’s off. I look at each kid. None of them are playing with a talking toy. Hmm. Then it hits me. The voice is close to me. It’s coming from my back pocket. I quickly pull out my cell and see ‘Press END to stop Emergency Call’. Whhhhaaaaaatttt??? I try to press END and get the same message. Wait, my phone is locked. Unlock! Press END. Oh my. I think I just butt dialed 911… for 3:08 minutes.

As I try to process this turn of events (and think about what had been said in the previous three minutes), my phone rings. It isn’t a number I recognize, but I’m pretty sure I know who it is. Sure enough, the lady informs me she’s from dispatch and she just got a mis-dial from my number. “Is everything okay?” I assure her it is. “We heard a lot of screaming.” Ummm, yeah, I have three kids. “Verify some information for me please?” Of course. “Have a nice day.” You too. I’m gonna go dig myself a hole now.

Well, that was embarrassing, but something I’m sure happens with some frequency. I chuckle to myself and go back to what I was doing prior to the butt dial. Then Eli calls from the living room, “Mommy, a truck drove in!” A peek out the window… yup, it’s the sheriff.

I open the door before he can even make it to the porch. I’m so sorry! My phone was in my pocket. I don’t know how that happened!! “Is everything okay? We heard screaming and someone yell, ‘You’re not leaving here!'” SERIOUSLY?? Oh my word, it just keeps getting worse and worse. My face is on FIRE. Umm, I don’t know about that. I told my son he couldn’t go in the garage. Maybe that was it?? “Are you alone?” It’s just me and my kids. Do you want to come in and check? “Yes, ma’am, if that’s okay. When there’s yelling we always want to check it out.”

He glances around the living room. The kids are staring at him in awe. Samuel is in a tee-shirt and diaper. He begins to break dance in the middle of the floor and say something indistinguishable. Okaaay, buddy. That’s enough. The officer is realizing it truly was a mis-dial. The kids are clearly not in distress. Wacky maybe, but not distressed. Just then, a second sheriff’s car pulls in. The first guy informs the second guy that all the yelling was just a few stir-crazy kids on a rainy day. I thank them for checking and tell them it will probably be the highlight of the boys’ day. The second officer says, “Oh really?” and goes out to his car to get the kids some stickers. We thank them again and they head out.

Ten minutes later, I’m still beet red and my phone is safely on the counter. I don’t think I’ll ever put it in my pocket again.

I do want to say thanks to the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office and the dispatch center though. If I was actually in danger, it’s good to know you do your job thoroughly. And it’s also good to know that you’re good sports about a crazy, yelling woman and her three screaming kids.

UPDATE: I think I figured out what the ‘You’re not leaving!’ was all about. As I mentioned earlier, at one point during the butt dial I heard the Wii remote and assumed Eli had turned on the TV. I said something like, “You’re not playing Wii!” which when heard through a phone, through a pocket, probably sounds a whole lot like :You’re not gonna leave!”. Wow, I feel so much better now.

Lauren Cormier

About Lauren Cormier

Lauren is a 30-something stay at home mom who doesn't have it all together and she's pretty sure you don't either. She hopes that by sharing her real life (not the glossy made-up version) she can encourage you to drop the act and get real. Lauren lives in Hermon with her husband and their three children. She also blogs at