Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Sorry, Wrong Number

I've gotten wrong number calls before. Usually on my answering machine. It puzzles me why someone looking for "Bob" will leave a message after hearing my greeting (as I am clearly not Bob), but, hey, it happens. I generally feel bad for wrong number callers -- especially REPEATED wrong number callers -- 'cause they're still sitting there waiting for Bob to call them back, not having realized they never called Bob in the first place. Sometimes I'll call them back and tell them they got it wrong. Once I even called all the way to South Africa to tell someone they had the wrong number -- seemed like it was an important call they were trying to make.

But, today -- whoo boy. Got to work and had a message on my office voice mail. The message itself was a recording -- announcing a collect call from an inmate and asking if I'd accept it. At one point, the inmate stated his name, and it was garbled on my voice mail.

Now, normally I'd just think this was a wrong number. The problem is that I sorta work in the criminal justice system, and although there's no REASON at all for an inmate to call me (and no way I could think of that they'd hunt me down as a person to call) -- still, I wondered if this wasn't, in some way, someone who was, shall we say, disgruntled.

Alternatively, the fact that I work in the criminal justice system suggests that -- for some people I know -- IF they found themselves in trouble with the law, I'd probably be the person they'd go to with their one phone call. Not like I expected anyone to be in this situation, but, hey, it could happen. But the name was garbled, so I had no way of knowing if this really was a friend in trouble.

When I was getting ready to go home at night, the phone rang. It was the recording calling again, asking if I'd accept a collect call from an inmate named... Julian. A quick run through everyone I know yielded no Julian. I declined the call.

Now I'm sorta wondering about Julian. Poor guy. In jail. Tries making a call in the morning and fails. Waits all day for phone privileges again, gets his one shot at the phone and the call is declined. I hope he figures out he had the number wrong, and that it isn't that his [lawyer, girlfriend, alibi, whoever he was trying to call] is blowing him off.

But I'm still not taking the call.


andreakingme said...

I'd do the same thing in your position. Because who knows, maybe this guy is calling from anther COUNTRY.

But I'd be conficted, too, for the same reasons you share. Hopefully, the poor schmuck will get it figured out.

grodygeek said...

I used to have them saved on my machine by accident, but I had a great trio of wrong number calls. This elderly woman called 3 times, on 3 different days, and left the same message. Except. She asks for a dfferent name. First it was Gorton, then it was Borton, then Gorvin. I've listened to these messages dozens of times first trying to disern what the names were as they were close to my legal name. Then it was that she sounded like my dead mother. Wierd. Gordy

olddog299 said...

Did you hear a tone, as though someone had accidentally hit a key on the phone? There is a scam involving a 3-key sequence which allows the caller to hijack your line after you hang up to make another call. Time to call the phone company business office and talk with the fraud division - they can check to see if there was a long call made at your expense shortly after acceptance of the collect call.

nzforme said...

Not to worry, OD, I didn't accept the call. I'm pretty sure it wasn't a scam -- given what my Caller ID gave me and the "inmate collect call" announcement, I have every reason to believe Julian is an inmate in our local jail just tryin' to make a collect call.