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According to WPBF-TV, Latreasa Goodman of Florida was cited over the past weekend for misusing the 911 emergency communications system after she called the system three times to report she wasn't getting the chicken McNuggets she ordered at McDonald's.
Goodman explained her thinking:
"When you feel that you've been mistreated or misused or robbed out of your money, you have the right to call 911," Goodman said. "That's the purpose of 911, so I thought."
When told by police the situation did not classify as an emergency, a police report indicated Goodman had the following retort:
"This is an emergency. If I would have known they didn't have McNuggets, I wouldn't have given my money, and now she wants to give me a McDouble, but I don't want one. This is an emergency."
Although the story probably gets plenty of laughs, this is not close to the first time such a fast food "emergency" has occurred (see below links). So, as a public service, here's some clarification on when to go ahead and punch up 9-1-1, so that the call won't lead to very annoyed authorities, fines, and/or jail time. Each state classifies and penalizes the crime of misusing its 911 system in different ways but, without exception, 911 is intended only for emergencies. Now, as can be seen, people have apparently interpreted that word to highly varying degrees. However, if someone's life or health is in danger (no, not from McNugget deprivation), please go ahead and make the call. Another hint is whether time is of the essence in a situation, does someone need help immediately, or as soon as possible? Most misdirected 911 calls do not result in legal consequences, as an operator will usually just tell the caller as much. But once someone starts repeating their mistake, they really are opening themselves up to face legal consequences.
On a bright note, not one to let a clearly devoted customer shoulder the entirety of the blame alone (Goodman says she'll keep visiting the golden arches), McDonald's has issued its own mea culpa over the incident in a release as follows:
"Satisfying each and every customer that visits our restaurants is very important to us. Regarding this isolated incident, we apologize for the inconvenience caused. In the event that we are unable to fill an order, a customer should be offered the choice of a full refund or alternative menu items. We regret that in this instance, that wasn't the case. We want to correct our mistake. We will be sending the customer her refund, along with an Arch card for a complimentary meal on us. We never want to disappoint a McNuggets fan or any McDonald's customer. Customer satisfaction is our top priority.
McDonald's Operations Manager Florida Region"
In a similar spirit of cooperation, Goodman is going to excercise some restraint at the point-of-order too, as she said, "I'm not going and just giving up my money like that, no, but I'm going to ask them would they please check and see if they have what I want on the menu, and if they tell me yes, then I will order."